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Poch: Winning 'real tournament,' not FA Cup, will make difference for Spurs

Poch: Winning 'real tournament,' not FA Cup, will make difference for Spurs
From ESPN - March 16, 2018

LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that winning the FA Cup would not turn his Tottenham team into winners, just as twice winning the Copa del Rey as a player did not change his own mentality.

Speaking before Saturday's FA Cup quarterfinal at Swansea, Pochettino said Spurs could only develop a winning culture through success in the Premier League and Champions League, and not in a competition that is so dependent on luck.

Over and over again, Pochettino has been told he must signpost future success with a first piece of silverware, and calls for him to prioritise the FA Cup, Spurs' last chance of a trophy this season, have increased since their Champions League elimination.

But just as he has done before each previous round, Pochettino talked down the importance of winning the trophy, saying his 2000 and 2006 Copa del Rey wins with Espanyol changed nothing for him or the Spanish club.

"I am the same. They changed nothing for me. Nothing," Pochettino said. "Sometimes success does not help you to be better. Maybe we did not deserve to win it. I am in the history of Espanyol because we won but I do not feel it made a massive change.

"OK, you can say it was a big issue because we won two trophies. I do not mean that the team that wins the FA Cup or the Copa del Rey does not deserve to win it but sometimes you win because the draw is kind to you. It is not the same as winning the Premier League.

"When you win a real tournament, when you need to play under pressure and perform at your best over 10 months, that is when you start to learn about winning -- what it means to be winners, what it means to be professional.

"That is the step when you start to understand in your head. The culture of winning is so important but to create that culture, you need to work a lot and take many steps to arrive there. It is not: 'Oh I am going to create a winning mentality and culture. OK in two months, we are going to start to win.' It is not like this."

Pochettino said Leicester's historic Premier League title in 2015-16 was evidence that simply winning a trophy does not change a club, stressing that the "process" is more important than the end goal.

Leicester have twice changed managers since and they are on course for another mid-table finish.

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