I’m no nearer understanding quite what happened on Saturday. Sometimes I don’t have the time to write at the weekend. More by accident than design, the delay has given me the time for my anger and frustration to subside, to be replaced by some sense of perspective but I’m none the wiser.
I know what happened, that’s easy. We’re mugs. Stupid. Stupid is the word. A brainless, unthinking, oafish performance. Things don’t go well, fine, they can’t do so all the time, but don’t be dense about it. Have a think, try something different. If lobbing the ball up the field towards Crouch isn’t working, do something else. Don’t lob the ball up the field towards Pav. He’s not on the pitch for that.
If they defend in depth, fine again, try to move it around. Don’t all run forward and stand next to an opponent. That’s where they are so be somewhere else.
What aggravates me is that we know this, we know it, yet still it’s mindless, aimless football. I thought we had got past all this. Maybe not. Seen it before, in the bad old days, all of, 8 or 9 months now, a bygone age when Champions League football was just a gleam in Harry’s rheumy eyes. Now it’s back to haunt us.
I don’t think our players are consciously complacent, in fact the problem is that they are not aware of what they are thinking, but there was no doubt that the collective Spurs football brain was elsewhere at the start of the match. We have to get on top right away, not necessarily blowing away the opposition but dictating the tempo and keeping the ball. We didn’t and were lucky not to go a goal down early on.
What followed was so much rubbish. Old failings reasserted themselves. If Crouch is in the team, the players cannot resist the temptation to wang it forward to him. Young Boys couldn’t handle it but it’s meat and drink to this very average Wigan team. Time and again possession was wasted.
We know teams are going to defend in depth. To get round this, we have to break up their formation by moving around up front with forwards coming away from the back four and midfielders moving from deep into the space to create uncertainty. Also, stay wide to stretch the defence as much as possible. Instead, our forwards and the midfield stayed up for much of the second half in a neat, straight line at the edge of their box. We launch it long, they head it away. Ridiculous and stupid.
Pav and Nico were two bold substitutions. They both offer something different from what had gone before and for a time it looked as if Nico’s movement and prompting would make something happen, but in the end he was sucked into the quicksand of mediocrity like everyone else. I don’t want to blame Gio because he’s young but his performance typified Stupid Spurs. He buzzed back when he came on, then proceeded to idle upfield for the remainder of the game. I’m sure he touched the ball at some point but I need OPTA for final confirmation. And this is the guy who roamed so successfully for Mexico, ranging across the back four just behind the strikers and just what I thought he would do on Saturday.
Goodness knows what the bench were asking them to do. Harry obviously has the right hump. We’ve all wanted to tell Sky to fuck off, regularly in my case, but I’m certain he’s been called worse than a wheeler dealer in his time. Great entertainment, mind, better than the match.
Wigan scored and I felt pleased for their fans – that’s loyalty. One bloke arrived late and nipped up the stairs, clutching his ticket. He looked bewildered on seeing the wide open spaces. The steward obviously said, ‘sit anywhere’ and he seemed confused by this. Not that my mind was wandering at the time, you understand. They looked so happy at full time.
Meanwhile, we sent a postcard to the Prem – come to the Lane for rest and relaxation. You don’t have to do a thing. Just sit back and we’ll take care of everything. We’ll even gift-wrap your 3 points for you to take home for the family.
Deadline day today, thankfully it will be over in a few hours and the cursed ITK will fall back into hibernation until January at least. We need to hang to make a proper judgement, although I must say that the current rumour of Babel on loan is leaving me as stupefied as most of Saturday’s team.
My attitude is unchanged from the start of the season. This is a fine squad who, despite Saturday, will get better. That development will be assisted by the purchase of a top class striker who is quick, mobile and can play on their own or as the middle of three with players joining him from midfield. We don’t really have that option available currently. A classy experienced central midfielder will do nicely too, especially as Wilson’s faults are becoming more apparent by the match – Parker fits the bill for me and would have been perfect during our second half struggles on Saturday.
However, these men are in short supply. We can afford to push the boat out in terms of fees but not in salaries. Why risk the goodwill and squad spirit that has been painstakingly built up over the past couple of years by parachuting in someone on inflated wages. If no one fits the bill, don’t buy. Development takes time – now is the perfect moment to give it a nudge but not if it means buying just for the sake of it.