Paulinho Recalls ‘Difficult’ Spurs Spell
Barcelona midfielder Paulinho recalls his ‘difficult’ spell at Spurs, a club he joined from Corinthians in 2013. The Brazilian didn’t quite fit in in North London and eventually moved to Chinese Super League club Gangzhou Evergrande.
He joined Barcelona this summer following his reinstatement into the Brazilian national team and has performed well for the La Liga leaders. But the Brazilian remembers that his last spell in Europe was not quite as successful.
“I wouldn’t say it was a relief to leave Spurs but it was clear I had to,” he told The Guardian. “It was a difficult time. Villas-Boas bought me in July 2013 and in December Villas-Boas goes. He’d wanted me, we’d spoken a lot, and then six months later Tim Sherwood was in charge.
“There was no problem with him – he was very young, a good coach – but the team wasn’t doing well and he came under pressure to change things. He did things a little differently but I still played the last eight or nine games that season.”
But Paulinho pinpoints the arrival of current boss Mauricio Pochettino as the real turning point for his Spurs tenure, “Then came the change from Sherwood to Mauricio Pochettino. My first game is in my position but after that I played in every position apart from my own.
“If we play in a three, I’m here. If we play in a two, I’m here. He had a different system, and if you’re not in your position in a football as competitive as England it’s difficult. I was playing on the left wing: the coach put me there and I had to play there, because I wanted to play.
“I had no problem with Pochettino. I told him: ‘This position is not mine but if you want I can play there.’ But in the long term you’re not going to be at your best and over the last six months I wasn’t playing regularly.
“I thought the moment had come to leave. Where? I didn’t know. But I wanted to leave. The coach wasn’t trusting in me so there’s no reason to stay. It was April, May 2015, a month left. I’d spoken to the president [chairman Daniel Levy] and asked him if he could help. He was a good person and he said: ‘Let’s wait and see if you have anything.’”