Positive About Poch

Youngish Spurs manager seeking to make the best of the resources he has available without the full and unconditional support of his chairman. A squad of good players, mostly on the up, looking for direction so they can improve as individuals and as a team. Put the two together and some alchemy could result in solid in gold. Or a flask of bubbling gloop, useless to man or beast, in which case back to the drawing board.

I like the way Pochettino goes about his business. He’s centred, poised in the calm, unostentatious way of a man who is sure about his own ability without teetering over the edge into the abyss of arrogance. Which comes as a welcome relief after AVB, Redknapp and Sherwood, all of whom loved the limelight in their different ways. Tim the Temp is STILL banging on about ‘my Spurs’ whenever the Independent let him anywhere near a keyboard, for Hod’s sake.

Yesterday in the 2-2 draw against Sunderland there was much to admire in the Spurs performance. No doubt still smarting from their roasting a fortnight ago, Tottenham followed Liverpool’s example and took a high tempo game deep into our opponent’s half from the kick-off. It paid off with an early goal then despite conceding almost immediately, we dominated territory and possession with some decent football, pass and move, one-twos. The manager’s message is clearly getting through to a bunch of players who are willing to listen.

Shame then that our old pals the Feebles had to turn up to ruin the party. Two feeble bits of defending when not under any great pressure did for us. We score, we concede. They go together like a horse and carriage. I tell you brother, at Spurs you can’t have one without the other. 2-1 up, last ten minutes, stupid free-kick given away, defenders conspire to avoid the cross and Harry Kane clumsily knocks it in at the far post. Two points needlessly given away.

Woke up this morning, had those post-window blues. I don’t expect that Spurs will spunk a fortune on players, I don’t even advocate it. Rather, the end of the August window marks the start of the season proper and we’re not any further forward than we were a couple of years ago. That opening paragraph is strikingly, depressingly similar to what I was writing about AVB and Spurs after his first window ended.

Here’s another blast from the past – strikers, lack thereof. I am flabbergasted that a professional club in any league could leave themselves so short of striking options. Adebayor did well yesterday, kept in touch with the midfield rather than remaining isolated, but a full season at maximum intensity is asking too much and anyway he could be away for the ANC. Kane is developing well but nowhere near ready to lead the line on a regular basis. I hope Pochettino can do something with Soldado but we can hardly rely on him. The fact that Spurs have made this mistake for the last few seasons does not diminish the frustration and fury.

So how did this happen? Conspiracy or cock-up? Levy may have been reluctant to release funds, what with a stadium to pay for. I can’t believe Pochettino didn’t ask for another goalscorer. Not asking for a world-beater but there must have been someone out there. This one could well have been cock-up, however. A journo I follow on twitter, Spurs fan but not a sportswriter, said he had been told a sorry tale of mistakes made. No details of course but as his paper led the following day on Welbeck’s arrival at the Emirates, I wonder if Spurs thought he was coming and had no contingency. Whatever, this wanton negligence could prove costly. The sense of settling for a reasonable season instead of trying to make something more ambitious happen is inescapable.

The delay in the new stadium has been in the news this week. Again, conspiracy or cock- up? Archway Steel, the last remaining business on the site, have appealed against their compulsory purchase order. It’s their right and they want to play what they feel is a seller’s market for all its worth. Their intentions were made clear in a swiftly deleted tweet: after the announcement they stated “on my way to don’tgiveaf**kistan.”

Levy could pay up.  Lot of talk about how poor Spurs have been in getting the job done but I’ll accept these things are not straightforward and if public finance is available, Levy had the right to wait for it to appear and the CPO has held it up. Arsenal took years to sort out the Ashburnum site.

He doesn’t like being beaten in a deal but it’s an option. Which begs the question: how much does he want to build it? There may be more profit for ENIC if they sell with planning permission but no stadium, and this week there appears to have been some interest from potential buyers. Many believe the new ground is inevitable but won’t be built by ENIC.

As ever the fans are left looking on, powerless. We are affected the most and consulted the least. Archway Steel have changed the language of the debate. We now must, repeat must, move to another ground while WHL is being rebuilt because of this delay, at least according to the press. Convenient. The original plan allowed for one season with a three sided ground, i.e. no move. I read that a subsequently amended design means the roof has to be built in one go. The fuss around Archway Steel is being used by the club to soften us up for the move, as if the club have no choice. Not their fault. But where we end up is their responsibility. Totally. MK Dons is the likely destination at the moment. THFC would be hard pushed to find a venue in the south east that would be less popular. The interests of supporters must be the highest priority, indeed in my view the only issue to consider. I’m not holding my breath.

This remains an unwelcome distraction. At the beginning of the season, it felt as if we were moving forward but the window plus the stadium and ownership questions mean the clouds of uncertainty have blown over again. Pochettino is our big positive. His organisation is seeping into the team’s rhythm. He’s already making good use of the resources at his disposal. The players are motivated and want to play decent football. The Argentinian is our key man this season.

Back to the game. Spurs took the game to Sunderland and dictated the pattern and tempo with sustained spells of controlled possession football. Eriksen was to the fore, especially in opening hour. He’s looked sluggish so far this term but in a more central role he shone, making things happen. One lofted first-time one-two into the box was a delight – Manu’s touch was blocked by the keeper. He started the move that led to our second and then ran 40 yards to finish it off. Dembele was strong, able to push into an advanced position because we dominated up front. His thumping thirty-yarder deserved more than hitting the woodwork. Lamela was similarly unlucky in the second half.

Sunderland had few opportunities but Spurs looked unduly shaky when the ball came their way. Chiriches looks permanently anxious. Johnson had too much room as he weaved his way goalwards for their first, the second could have been stopped at several points.

19 thoughts on “Positive About Poch

  1. Another deluded poch fan! AVB mark 2! Tim nice but dimwould’ve got 3 points against the dog and duck XI that we played yesterday!!! Wish Levy would hire a proven manager not a guy that gets relegated 50% of the time! No point getting behind the manager if he is crap! Mid table this season & he be gone by next Jan! Got some really good players played terrible systems (high line & pressing) that don’t work! Counter attacking works!!!!

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  2. Thanks as ever Alan – don’t know if you’re echoing my thoughts or shaping them.
    Except about Chiriches. Anxious? Don’t know about that – he might make us anxious, but the lad certainly thinks he can play a bit. And it’s what I like to see. If confidence becomes over-confidence and egg-on-face time, well, that’s going to happen sometimes. Whadya want, Mr Dawson back?

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  3. Hello Alan.
    I watched the whole ninety minutes yesterday and was by and large impressed with the performance.
    Sporting Gods do ocassionaly play a hand in a result, the woodwork didn’t help, neither did a ref who should have been more eager to protect our midfield. (The flurry of yellow cards late on would never have happened had he shown a little more mettle ealier in the game.) Some resolute defending would however have made this irrelevant.
    As for Poch, he does at least have the luxury of leading a side that no longer has a legacy.
    During the seventies and eighties we were known as a team with a legacy of cup success, only our most ardent supporters could claim that legacy still exists, two league cups in nearly a quarter of a century would seem to bare this out.
    The inability to protect a lead is now endemic in the club, I heard recently that we’ve given away more three goal starts than any other side in PL history. This is top end football and the mindset will take years to change.
    Changing this habit of gifting points to the opposition can’t guarantee success of course, but may reduce the amount of times that Spurs fans will have to suffer the frustrations of yesterdays result.
    I’ve still got the programme from the 1991 Forest FA cup final, I’d gladly burn it to see us win another one.

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  4. I enjoyed watching us play for the most part. Quick and concise going forward, quick to get the ball back when attacks broke down. Capoue looked capable and if he continues like that, it’ll make up for losing Sandro (although ideally keeping both would have been better). The woodwork played a blinder, but we should really be beating the likes of Sunderland. Just how many of their players would get in our side? The defending was piss poor and it’ll be sometime before MoPo knows what his best back four is. That and not having a clinical enough frontman will stop us from doing anything this season, culminating in the Catch 22 of more players coming and going and the cycle of underachievement continuing. I like the manager, but he’s no magician. We’ll see more entertaining football this season than last, but just like Southampton last season, we’ll see frustrating games where we dominate but don’t pick up the three points. Close but no cigar – it’s what we do best.

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  5. I enjoyed watching Spurs play on Saturday. Given the lapses at the back and problems up top, as noted by others, I doubt we will trouble the top 4, but we’ve had a swagger at times this season which has been good to see. It may mean we are the best of the rest, again, but that’ll do me for now.

    I will look very unfavourably on any ground sharing deal with Franchise, though. Any legitimisation of them is a bad day for football. It’s bad enough that we’ve played them in a friendly before.

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  6. It was a good performance on Saturday. Dembele and Lamela, Eriksen and Capoue, and Adebayor having a real go. The inclusion of Fazio some other time, and more of Stromboli in future, bode well for some strengthening in defence. The final 2-2 result was frustrating, but the over-all performance merited far more and but for a crossbar and a post, Spurs would’ve done it.

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  7. Hi Alan

    Catching up after a hectic summer, for me not Spurs.
    Moved to Madrid. My other team is Real Madrid!
    Like the look and sound of Mauricio, trying to make something of last years job lot
    makes football and economic sense.
    Dominated the game and only took a point has a familiar ring.
    One shot on target and they scored twice.
    Early days, good signs, Eriksen back , Lamela on song, Dembele Pochetinised
    A lot on Ade’s shoulders which is worrying.

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      • Hi TMWNN.
        Fancy meeting you here.
        Good crowd in here.
        That Alan keeps a nice place.
        and like me he’s not always wrong.
        I won’t hold you lack of appreciation of blank verse against you.
        More positive now than I was at the end of the game
        Perspective, perspective, perspective!)
        ,but a lot of clouds hanging over WHL

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  8. If we sort out our silly mistakes, we can go onto being a better team than last season.
    1 top class striker and we can reach the holy grail.
    Good read Alan..keep up the good work.
    COY MIGHTY SPURS

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  9. Didnt see the game but this is not AVB all over again.Poch is progressive I feel,he will develop this and not on a five year program.
    I have faith but you look at the CL positions taken up by these players United City Arsenal and Chelsea have bought
    Liverpool too.
    We are not even Everton yet

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  10. Nice article. Pretty much mirrors my opinions on our new manager. What I like about him is he gives you the belief that he knows what he’s doing; that he can actually identify our problems and work towards improving the team. Tim seemed to believe that passion and commitment were the only ingredients needed to win, and AVB confused matters with his over elaborate power point presentations.

    His decision to appoint Kaboul is an interesting one considering his more than shakey start to the season, and it’s his position we’ve attempted to strengthen. If anything his days seemed numbered. I’d have given it to (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) but Adebayor. He appears settled now, but has always performed better when under pressure or when given responsibility. What bigger and more consistent responsibility could he be given than the armband?

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  11. Thanks for the report, Alan. I missed the game and highlights. I’ve just come back from Estádio da Luz and watched AVB’s Zenit team cruise past Benfica. The high line system seemed extremely effective with the right kind of players and I can see why AVB wanted Moutinho and why he probably wasn’t very impressed with some of the signings we made in the summer of 2013 who couldn’t play in the way he wanted them.
    I thought the summer transfer window was extremely poor for Tottenham. There was plenty of value out there and it didn’t appear at WHL. Sure, the sales fetched reasonable prices and balancing the books on transfers may be good housekeeping but it isn’t going to take the club forward if we replace like for like. I’m happy to give Pochettino time as we’ll need to develop players ourselves and unfortunately that will be a slow process.

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