Thursday, 18 December 2014

That result was just what the players needed

Managers it seems often live in a fantasy world where they think money grows on trees and clubs should have an open cheque book policy.

That result was just what the players needed

What they are actually saying is 'I'm not good enough and I want someone to blame.' Every club has financial limitations and managers have to work within those limitations, if they don't want to then they shouldn't take the job on.

Society is a now now now materialistic society, the public are not prepared to wait and save up for the latest pointless man toy, they want it now and marketing is geared round creating a need and want for a product before it is released.

That has unsurprisingly transferred itself to football where the fan wants instant success but calls for stability in the same breath and chairman want instant success. There has to be a happy medium found. The chairman has to find the right manager to keep long term and you don't know if the man is the right one until he is in the post.

Take Juande Ramos who we appointed thinking he was a quality manager. It turns out Sevilla were happy to see him go because he wasn't the reason for their success, he hadn't built their team, as their staff admitted to us years later. We won the League Cup and then sat bottom of the league. Wikipedia shows us that Ramos has not managed any club for more than 133 games, he lasted 27 games at Real Madrid before they fired him.

Sometimes you have to appoint a manager for now, a manager to do a job who is not going to be your long term choice. Harry Redknapp is a now manager, he deals in older players and doesn't build for the future, the team is always having to find replacement parts and stop gaps. That can sustain you for a while but in the end it will go pear shaped, it's not a sustainable model for long term success.

Andre Villas-Boas was though to be the man and every time I hear his name I hear my Chelsea mate saying 'He will ruin your club.'

As it was he upset all and sundry, the players, the staff and the hierarchy. His bitterness is evident and his recent outburst comical. I love it when a manager can't even appreciate that a footballer has a choice of who he plays for and that players can actually choose not to play for Spurs.

"The chairman proposed a challenge to increase Tottenham's competitive level, but immediately [Luka] Modric left and we didn't get any of the targets I had identified, such as Joao Moutinho, Willian, Oscar or Leandro Damiao. 
"These were promises that were not kept. I had a group of players I had not chosen.  In two years I lost [Rafael] van der Vaart, Modric, [Gareth] Bale, and all the promises made were unfulfilled. 
"In any event I don't look at my time at Tottenham as a negative experience. It was an experience I needed to have."

So he bands on negatively and says it wasn't a negative time, make your mind up. According to a Spurs spokesman speaking to the Press Association he is rewriting history, something not unknown in Russia.

"It's unfortunate that Andre has felt the need to pass comments like these. Not only has he attempted to rewrite history, he has clearly forgotten the facts."

Clearly, given such strong words, there is ill feeling among the two, proof if ever it was needed that he alienated the hierarchy at the club.

After conducting research into Mauricio Pochettino and club opinion it became quite clear that the club felt they had found the right man after the excellent work Tim Sherwood did. He was appointed for a reason which I searched for and speculated on at the time. Clearly it was an interim role, but why, there was more to it than just waiting for Louis Van Gaal.

His reign showing the club, who was playing for it and who was playing for themselves. It showed we had a group of players with the right mental attitude and a group with the wrong mental attitude. It showed the club that unless they weeded out those who felt they could dictate to the manager, the club would forever be the nearly club.

Now I am not one who subscribes to the petty hatred towards Sherwood, he did an immense amount of good, probably the best youth development man we have ever had. I grant you he has a bit of a chip about only getting 5 months but he can't seriously have believed he was going to get more surely.

I'm sure in his talks with Levy he made it clear he'll weed out the loafers, the manner in which he did it may leave a bit to be desired but he clearly showed the club there were underlying problems with the players because the club are now trying to offload the very loafers he exposed.

Mauricio Pochettino is the man to benefit from that. As expected the club have stood squarely behind him, even when performances and results were poor. No longer is the manager on the chopping block but the players are. Those prepared to work, to adapt, to improve stay, those who want to stay in their comfort zone doing what they do for their nice cheque can go.

Last night showed what is possible and now there is a semi-final against Sheffield United coming up with the carrot of a Wembley final for the winners.

The prospect of leaving and dropping down a grade of club, plus the prospect of a Cup semi-final, that may be the enough carrots for some of the underachievers to improve, Townsend certainly improved last night.

Stoke, Villa no chance of signing Dembele

Mousa Dembele is one of those frustrating players with the wrong mental attitude. He is happy just doing what he has always done and pick up a nice cheque. He has got to a nice level and doesn't need to push himself, despite the fact that he could be world class if he wanted.

Stoke, Villa no chance of signing Dembele

His game has not improved since he has been at Spurs and if you are not a player who continually wants to improve then you shouldn't be good enough for us. That is the attitude the club have to take if we are ever going to get to where we want to be.

The winter transfer window is a couple of weeks away and Dembele is now being linked with clubs at Spurs look to offload him. He is a very good player who can do someone a very good job, yet the clubs he is being linked with are not of the quality you would expect him to want to join.

Les Ferdinand said on ITV that when he was at Spurs they used to tell him he could play for Real Madrid, he has that potential. Why then would he want to go to Aston Villa in a swap deal for Fabian Delph or Stoke City?

It might be good business for us, it might be good business for Aston Villa, but it's hardly good for Mousa Dembele is it. It's a fact of modern football that their income level and therefore their potential is lower than ours, thus Tottenham should always finish above them, as wages basically determine football hierarchy these days.

Delph is out of contract in the summer so can only command a small fee but Dembele has a contract until 2017 so still commands a realistic fee.

Stoke City want Dembele with Mark Hughes being a big fan but again, why would he want to go there, what's in it for him? What can they offer? He wouldn't be playing the European football all international managers like their players to be playing so he'd be putting his international career at fisk. He'd have to take a wage cut as well you would think. Tottenham are often accused of going for players out of their range, well surely Dembele is out of range for both Villa and Stoke.

There will be other offers come in, Everton have previously been interested and there are a number of Italian sides who have wanted him in the past. I would utterly amazed if he ended up at Villa or Stoke so if we want Delph we'll have to come up with another option.

A player can change his mental approach, maybe Tottenham looking to sell him is the kick up the backside he needs to work for the team, instead of wanting to showcase his dribbling skill. Perhaps he'll say I want to stay, I'd better change. A Mousa Dembele with the right mental approach would be a huge asset but he doesn't have long to demonstrate it.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

VIDEO Highlights Tottenham 4 Newcastle 0 Sheff U next

What a difference movement makes. The first half against Newcastle United in the quarter-final of the League Cup saw Spurs start to play at home in the manner which Pochettino has been urging and we looked a different side.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that Eriksen could give us more and that perhaps the reason he was not creating was that we had no movement, no midfield runners. Well for the Swansea and Newcastle games we had just that, runners, movement. Eriksen looked a different player and Tottenham a different team.

The first half performance should be enough to show the squad that this style can be successful as Pochettino has insisted it can to them. Perhaps now those players who have not bought into this will now buy into it.

If you don't believe in something totally, then you don't give it 100% effort and if you don't give everything 100% you don't get maximum results. If you don't get maximum results you reinforce your initial view and you give a little less effort next time. It's a self fulfilling prophecy but it works the other way as well. When you totally believe, you give it maximum effort, get maximum results which reinforces your view this really works and so you find you find a way to give a bit more.

We do still have a problem we will have to address during the interval and that is giving the ball away in our half in midfield. We have put ourselves under pressure too many time but we are now also fizzing the ball around. Regular readers will know I have been complaining about us slowly passing to a team mate so they have to wait for the ball to arrive. That was not the case in the first half tonight.

Rose, Vertonghen, Stambouli errors gave Newcastle chances early in the second half after we had started quickly and Chadli had put us two up. The important point though was that we continued the movement which Newcastle couldn't handle and on top of that we saw much more of the high-energy high-pressing game that we have been expecting.

Everton, Swansea and now Newcastle, three encouraging performances that show the style is just starting to come together. I have, as many of us have, criticised Townsend in the past but today was the best game I've seen him play for a long while. He was running but more importantly he was looking for passes and trying to link with players, almost as if he has suddenly realised he doesn't have to try and do it all himself to get noticed.

Vorm did everything he had to do and I was pleased in the second half, when we were 4-0 up, that he called out to Fazio to tighten up when he had made a mistake and the keeper had to save a bouncing shot. As I suspected Vlad Chiriches looks far more at home as a right-back than a centre-back, take the aerial game away from him and he can concentrate on what he does best, which is play with the ball at his feet.

Rose was excellent going forward, although at times he didn't know what to do when he got there but there were a couple of occasions where he went to sleep and Newcastle attacked, he has to watch out for those lapses of concentration.

Another well taken Kane goal and a confidence booster for Soldado two minutes after coming on. A poachers goal, he started to follow up Eriksen's shot just before he struck it so was left in acres of space to pounce on the rebound.

We can look forward to our 14th semi-final and hope we draw Sheffield United. And we have.

More 'Pay Whatever' Lunacy

A tour of the net yet again sees supporters or blog writers not learning that spending money does not guarantee success.

Levy hater love to claim the purchase of a striker in January a few years ago would have meant UEFA Champions League football, which is of course nonsense. It MAY have helped get Champions League football, it may have resulted a lower league finish. Nobody knows how any signing would have performed and whether they has a positive or negative impact on the team.

Roberto Soldado was the goalscorer we were looking for, he banged in the goals in Spain and we shelled out £26 million to get him, the result, no goals.

How then can blogs claim we are risking Champions League football if we don't sign another expensive striker? What if he is another player just doing Spurs a favour, more interested in his bank balance than Tottenham. What if he is another Mousa Dembele, a player who could be far better than he is but can't be bothered to improve, happy in his comfort zone earning a nice living.

It is quite incredible that some people still say 'just pay what they are asking' clearly these people could never run a successful business. Forget what a player is actually worth just throw your money around like paper, that's the best policy, is that what these people do when they go shopping with their own money in the supermarket? No it certainly isn't but it quite alright if it's someone elese's money.

In many how games Tottenham have not created chances so how is this new super striker that we must pay 'whatever' for going to score with from no chances? A striker is not the be all and end all, you have to have the team around the striker for him to score. There is absolutely no guarantee that yet another striker, from yet another league, with no Premier League experience, will score goals, not score them instantly. Yet that is an assumption made as if it is a given fact.

It is far more important to buy the right player for the style of play and one with the right mental attitude than simply paying whatever a club asks and playing high risk poker with Tottenham's future. Yes we need a striker, when we can get one out the door but we need the right striker at the right price, in other words what he is worth, not be held to ransom and tell every other club in the world they can raise the cost of their players when we want to buy.

Thankfully Tottenham have a little more common sense and business sense in the transfer market.

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