Friday, 21 October 2016

Spurs handling the pressure well so far

Confidence encourages players to produce their best. They have to be mentally free from baggage and even though Jan Vertonghen hasn't yet signed his contract extension, it isn't affecting his performances the way Christian Eriksen's did his at the start of the season.

As soon as he signed his game leaped back to where it was last season. Vertonghen has been Mr. Consistent though, there have been errors of course, everyone makes errors, but he is part of the meanest defence in the Premier League, indeed in Europe.

The Belgian international believes Spurs are of the best sides so far this season.

“We’ve shown it again [without Alderweireld]. It started with Harry and people said it about Hugo [that the team would suffer without them]. But Michel Vorm came in for Hugo and he showed it against Liverpool and Eric Dier showed it against Leverkusen [in central defence]. There is a strength to this team, especially after this window, when some great players came in. 
“We can miss almost everyone, although obviously not eight or nine players. The squad is so strong and we showed that against Leverkusen in a performance without Toby, without Kyle. I think we have as strong a squad as any in the Premier League. Obviously, some other teams have exceptional talents but we have them as well. It’s a sign that we can miss everyone, almost. It shows the strength of the team. 
“Previously, we might have lost that game to Leverkusen but now, we can draw. Sometimes, you have to take a draw. These are games that we might have lost a couple of years ago but now, we can get a draw that can get us qualification for the next round. We showed some real maturity against Leverkusen.”

Safe in the knowledge that he is expected to sign a new contract in the next couple of weeks some have suggested that his comments are a hint he will sign a contract extension! There is little reason for him to move, he is a first-choice player and the team are competing at the top with real chances of lifting trophies. The squad is young and he has the responsibility of being an old head helping to bring them along.

The media have tried to create a rift between him and Pochettino but our Argentinian manager has consistently said that if a player needs to be told somthing tough to improve hisgame he'll tell them. Being winners is about constantly improving so even in victory there are still things to work on, like our finishing fir example.

The mental strength of the squad improves with experience and last season will have helped them understand about pressure. How you handle it is the key to everything, thus far, apart from the Wembley wobble, they have handled it well.

Burley disappointed with Spurs

Craig Burley gave his assessment of Tottenham Hotspurs' Premier League performance against WBA last weekend and didn't seem to recognise there was a Champions League game coming up. It isn't something he ever had to deal with as a manager I suppose so has no experience of the fatigue poroblems involved.

"I thought disappointment from Tottenham's perspective. This is a side who pre-international break were absolutely flying, that was rolling over teams, 4 wins on the bounce including the best performance of the season against most people's favourites, Manchester City. 
"No Harry Kane is the side recently but Son Heung-min has done a great job up front and his movement has been key to Tottenham's good play, or one of the components. he didn't start and he wasn't the only change Tottenham made for this game and if it is injuries I understand. But I don't get changing a team for the sake of changing it. Yes players have been away on international duty, yes players have travelled, but I just want to get that continuity back on the field. 
"I want to get these players who have played so well for me back on the field and if it was just club rotation or team rotation then Pochettino has got it wrong. It's bugbear of mine with managers, however, going away from home in the Premier League and picking up a point is not a disaster, but I was disappointed that Tottenham just couldn't keep up the great form and I suppose Pochettino might say the international break came at a bad time, but he had to deal with it, he had to make the changes and it didn't quite work out."

Alli recognises his problem

A constant theme of mine since we had Robbie Keans up front is that we should be more clinical in front of goal. Back then when we were 3-0 up we created chance after chance and would blow them. If you want to be a winner that is not OK. It does matter.

The proff is the Dele Alli miss against Bayer Leverkusen and the one-on-one chances we have missed this season. He missed one against WBA as well. Ryan Mason used to miss them for us, while Eriksen and Lamela have both talken the wrong options when we out number teams on the counter attack. Son player a shocking pass when all he had to do was roll the ball into Eriksen's path in a previous Champions League game.

"Personally I want to beat my target from last year and the only way to do that is to get in and around the box and be getting on the end of chances. 
"I could have been in double figures by now with the chances I've been missing. It's important to get in the right positions, but I need to start being more clinical. 
"I want to be scoring goals and I feel like I should have put that in [against Bayer Leverkusen]. I couldn't believe it when I missed it, but I've got to keep working hard and make sure that I start being more clinical."

Recognising the problem is the first step to curing it and Dele Alli has certainly accepted he misses too many sitters.

Pochettino and his basic ingredients of success

Spurs of old crumbled when under pressure and at the end of last season gave up once the title was gone. This season we remain the only unbeaten team in the Premier League and had to really battle on Tuesday for a point in the UEFA Champions League.

“We need to keep this belief, we need to keep this mentality, it’s fantastic. The season is long and we’re involved in many competitions, and to keep this belief and this mentality is difficult, I know, but we must keep it because only with this mentality we can achieve big things.”

Belief and mentality, the basic ingredients of any success. Throughout last season the side battled when behind and those qualities seem to be in evidence again this season. Dele Alli equalised in the 89th minutes against WBA whern we were playing with great determination, but you have to ask why we weren't that determined for longer in the game.

Each game is different, we are not goping to play like we did against Manchester City every game, the tactics are different for a start against different opposition, but the desire, the effort to score must be there. Perhaps it was lacking somewhat against WBA, although we carved out chances and didn't take them.

Bournemouth have come into form after a poor start to the season. This is a game where we need to be emulating last season. Their brand of football should allow us to play more and goals for us could, perhaps should, be on the cards again.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Wanyama nominated for an award

Summer signing Victor Wanyama has been shortlisted for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) African Player of the Year 2016 Award.

He is one of 30 nominees who include last year's winner Pierre Emerick Aubemeyang of Gabon and German side Borussia Dortmund. The favourite is 25-year-old (26 next February) Algeria and Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez.

The full list of nominees are:

1. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City) 
2. El Arabi Hillel Soudani (Algeria & Dinamo Zagreb) 
3. Islam Slimani (Algeria & Leicester City) 
4. Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon & Antalyaspor) 
5. Benjamin Mounkandjo (Cameroon & Lorient) 
6. Serge Aurier (Cote d'Ivoire & PSG) 
7. Eric Bailly (Cote d'Ivoire & Manchester United) 
8. Yao Kouasi Gervais 'Gervinho' (Cote d'Ivoire & Hebei Fortune) 
9. Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Roma) 
10. Mohamed El Neny (Egypt & Arsenal) 
11. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Dortmund) 
12. Andre Ayew (Ghana & West Ham United) 
13. Victor Wanyama (Kenya & Tottenham Hotspur) 
14. William Jebor (Liberia & Wydad Athletic Club) 
15. Mehdi Benatia (Morocco & Juventus) 
16. Hakim Ziyech (Morocco & Ajax) 
17. John Mikel Obi (Nigeria & Chelsea) 
18. Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria & Manchester City) 
19. Ahmed Musa (Nigeria & Leicester City) 
20. Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo & Villareal) 
21. Yannick Bolasie (DR Congo & Everton) 
22. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool) 
23. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal & Napoli) 
24. Keegan Dolly (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns) 
25. Itumeleng Khune (South Africa & Kaizer Chiefs) 
26. Mbwana Samatta (Tanzania & Genk) 
27. Aymen Abdennour Tunisia & Valencia) 
28. Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia & Sunderland) 
29. Dennis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns) 
30. Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe & Mamelodi Sundowns).