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.
9 thoughts on “Not Nice, But Dim”
A depressing weekend for me.It is evident, from previous years performance that we cannot pin point the blame squarely on complacency. There is something radically wrong with the management & specialised coaches we have at Spurs. They lack the skills to neither guide nor coach these players. None of the players are “driven”. In fact Harry himself is complacent as his comments indicated that the lad’s tried their utmost.Moreover to lose to a side like Wigan at home is totally unacceptable. I welcome constructive comments on this. & challenge Spurs fans to take up this issue with Levy. You are the paying party that makes the club liquid.
We’re not short of coaches that’s for sure. They could fill a team bus on their own.
We’re short of tactical nous.
The experience or flair to change a team and its formation from game to game and within the game as you say.
If the players haven’t been coached to work this out for themselves then the manager or one of his assistants has to do it for them.
Harry may be good at the man management and motivational stuff, although we didn’t seem very motivated, but at the more technical side he needs help.
I expect its just ablip and before man.Utd we have six or seven games that are winnable.
But this was one of them.
These are the same coaches that have improved the performance of several young players and taken us to the CL…
I hear Sherwood is very well thought of in the club by the manager and young players…
What Harry and other managers for that matter say in the media is very different from what they say in the dressing room..
But as I implied in the blog, for the life of me I don’t know what was said to the players re the formation and shape on Saturday…
Interested to hear what others think
As you may know at the game I watched Bale for 90 minutes, and then just the “highlights” on Sunday.
It had that horrible feeling to it, that I really hoped we had left behind, that there seemed to be an element that felt it was all too easy, and we would win anyway. No real passion, very little urgency, had there been a little too much time in Faces after the Young Boys (which will hopefully be the last of those puns).
Not a calamity, but a major annoyance, 1 point out of 6 at home – not sure ‘Arry wants to get himself another slogan this year..
We can and will do much better, but to do anything in the CL and hope to finish 4th, I sadly think that means throwing the domestic cups away this season, we just don’t have the depth at the moment.
Think it is more likely we will downgrade the league and focus on the cups but agreed we just dont have the depth for it all with Europe too. Not enough real competition for places and our bench is not strong enough to change a game.
I agree with JimmyG2. Tactics were the problem, or lack thereof. I was hoping for an early sub to change up the tempo, but it didn’t happen till later.
I agree that Wilson is a problem. He gives us very little going forward.
I may be stating the obvious, but from watching the match on Saturday, it seems to me the way to stifle Spurs with Wilson in midfield is the following. Fill the midfield and pressure the ball, leaving only Dawson free. Wait for Spurs to pass the ball to Dawson. Then mark up tight and wait for Dawson to send the ball long to Crouch. Win the header or (easier) collect the knock down.
When Luka (god bless him!) is in, he’s comfortable enough to take the ball from the back four and get us moving. Wilson is the opposite. On Saturday he was often content to hide, as you say, next to one of their players. The only time I remember him not doing this was late in the second half when he burst down the inside left into space, creating problems for the Wigan defence. Maybe Harry can convince him to do it more often.
Thanks for commenting. Wilson’s limited passing ability is becoming a problem at this level but then again, someone should come short to take the ball. Play to his strengths. As you say get it to daws and it goes long
We seemed either to knock it forward (too long and high, too often) while at the same also seeming to think something would just happen, and there were long periods with too little or no urgency. I was a bit perplexed at the end as one can see and still am!
Really disappointing. Mind, of the English clubs, all bar Chelsea have had real problems in the league games (esp following, but also before) CL fixtures from the start, for a number of reasons no doubt. It is still a problem for them and wikll be for us too I imagine.
He does go on some surprisingly long and good runs does Wilson.