SN Blog 69 – “We’ve Got Our Tottenham back…”

As the fourth goal went in against Crystal Palace inside the opening half hour at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a delighted few in the crowd rejoiced at the football they were seeing by breaking out into a song;  ♪♪ We’ve got our Tottenham back.. ♪♪ and it was a song that led to many agreeing.  Fast to close down, speed of pass, good movement and attacking.  It was indeed the style we all feel is us at our very best.

However we eased off in that game, ending it 4-0 without really pushing for more (see Man City 8-0 Watford for an example of a ruthless killer instinct) and that apathy even when starting the game well and playing well seems to sum up where we are at the moment.  No real desire to kick on.

Following the great win over Palace, which it was, we then flew to Greece to play Olympiacos.  We did not perform, no sense sugar coating it, from minute one to the last we looked lacklustre.  We managed however to go 2-0 up in the game.  A penalty from Kane and a great individual effort from Lucas (that boy loves a Champions League goal).

However with us failing to really get out of second gear and Olympiacos losing at home being rarer than rocking horse s**t (lost just once in over a calendar year there and in that game it was a cup replay where they rotated their team as didn’t care) the game ended 2-2.

An away point in the Champions League is not a bad result, especially first game up and especially now we have a big target on us.  Across Europe teams knew of Tottenham but mostly as a historic team that suddenly was popping back up at the top table but now having reached the final everyone knows and expects.  Its a new kind of pressure one which this team are going to have to learn to live with and quickly.

Losing a lead however always stings and being 2-0 up when you are a “top side” is when you want to kill a game.  Go get a third or fourth BUT this is where I go back to that apathy we showed against Palace – you could almost see the team settle into a mindset of; ‘…that will do, I wonder if Tripps will be online to pay call of duty later….’

Of course this is not the first two goal lead we as a club have let slip.  HA I watched us 4-0 up against a team with 10 men once and we lost 5-4 …. however that is in the past.  Under Poch these kind of results were being eradicated.  We as a team added a steal that Tottenham and their Spursy reputation had not had before so has it come back.  Is it the manager… is it the players… the owners…. or most likely in my opinion a combination.

For a team to keep moving forward, evolving, you need to tweak things.  That does not mean every window there should be wholesale changes but it does mean that players who are perhaps no longer able to meet the demands of the club (think Wanyama right now) or players who it simply has not worked out for in England / need an upgrade (Aurier and others).

We also have a situation where we have players who want to leave.  Various reasons.  Toby who wanted to earn more money but has not gotten a move, Jan who is happy to stay but due to his age the club are considering his options and Eriksen who wants to go live and play in Spain so is running down his deal to achieve that.

So from our (arguably) strongest eleven we have Rose, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Aurier & Eriksen who are all players who are unsettled.  Now I am not saying any of them are behaving on the pitch in terms of performance in an unprofessional way.  In fact as awful as I thought Eriksen was against Olympiacos he did appear to be trying, running back and putting in sprints etc to try and cover he just was having a mare of a night.

I think every fan has at one time or another thought about what he or she would do if they were in charge.  Ever since the Leicester game finished I have.  I look at our squad and I wonder who I would pick, is there a change in formation or personnel that could work for us.  Is it time to say “this is not working, this season is a right off” and drop all the players who are not focused and go balls out with youth?  Do I think if I was the owner of the club would I check to see if Jose was interested in taking over…. maybe his winning mentality could get this squad over the line and pick up a trophy this season if the change was made now.

The reality is this.  No elite manager is coming to us because bluntly our owners do not have an elite club mentality.  They will not spend £100-200m every window.  When was the last time you saw Pep, Jose or someone of that ilk manage a club that didn’t do that?

If we remove Pochettino therefore we will be looking to recruit a new manager from the existing crop in the Premier League of potential.  Eddie Howe is the most likely man for the job.  He has won how many trophies?  He is a great young manager but so was Poch when we brought him in (and still is) so why make that change?  It would and does make no sense so can we just drop that #PochOut rubbish now as it will not help us!

So backing the manager and giving him time.  If I were him there is only one change I would make and that is to take a step back and once again employ a defensive midfielder in the team.  To be blunt, we need Eric Dier.

When we were at our best, our full backs bombing forward providing width, there was a man who sat in the team and allowed that to happen.  That man was Eric Dier.  He would simply slot in at left back or right back… or sit in between the central defenders so creating a back three.  Bring him back in now.

Let us build from the back.  Let us go back to basics.  Lloris behind the Belgians and Dier in front of them.  The defensive diamond I want and we need.  Then ahead of that we have talent to die for.  So much creativity, dynamism and spark teams wont be able to live with us.  At least, that is my humble opinion anyway.


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