Saturday, 30 August 2014

Eriksen - We will do better on Sunday

Christian Eriksen knows only too well the problems associated with moving clubs and it can be a daunting time for youngsters. These guys may be professional footballers but they are still just young men with feelings.

Happy Spurs

Liverpool have bought 9 players, Tottenham bought 7 last summer so it's a nice easy story for the media to raise at a press conference, they have an angle on Liverpool and there will be countless comparison articles and speculation.

“It is true that we went through [what Liverpool are now facing] last year. It will depend on what team they have and what the new players are bringing in. Everything has to fit. 
“Sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you are a bit unlucky. Last year we made some really good signings, I think. We were just a bit unlucky that nothing really ended up in a big thing. Of course, that can happen with Liverpool as well so sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you aren’t.
“I came late so for me it was a bit different. The first guy we signed [Paulinho] will have seen six other players come in and that was probably a bit weird for him. They are the new faces they have to see and it is a big deal when new players come in. 
“When I came in, the four or five players before me I saw like everybody — they were all new players to me.  We have a good group, though, so I haven’t seen any problems with anybody.”

That last sentence s the key one, the group needs to get on, yes there have been strike partners who don't talk to each other off the pitch who have worked on it but it better to have a cohesive harmonious group. If you have that then there is less likelihood that new signings are going to struggle. It's far easier to settle if you are happy.

“When you make your away debut you have to sing. I sang a Danish song from Nik and Jay. How does it go? Nobody in England would know it. I’m not going to sing it again! 
"You get nervous and a little bit scared when you are standing on a chair in front of everybody but it is a fun thing and it is only going to help the group.”

It may seem a trivial thing to some but it's a quick and easy method of bringing a player down to earth and breaking initial barriers. Everyone has been through it, been laughed at and joked about. It integrates you with a group because everyone knows how nervous and sometimes silly you feel doing it, they have been there themselves.

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With a happy group of players under a manager they like the Danish midfielder is hoping for better results against the top teams this season.

“In those games against Liverpool we weren’t at our best, that is fair to say. Of course, we hope and I think we will probably do better when we play them on Sunday. It is going to be a different type of game.”

Better results look assured, they couldn't have been much worse to be honest and they are not game we want to relive, nor should we, they are the past,we have a future to look forward to.

Christian Eriksen was speaking at the announcement of EA SPORTS' partnership extension with the Premier League.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Does Stambouli move mean Schneiderlin deal is dead?

Tottenham were being reported in France yesterday as having made a move for former French Under 21 international midfielder Benjamin Stambouli, just 3 days before the summer transfer window closes.

Does Stambouli move mean Schneiderlin deal is dead?

Stambouli is a 24-year-old defensive midfielder who can cover as a centre-back although he is only 1.80m (5'11") so while it may be an option it's one that would only be one used in extreme circumstances, as it has been with fellow Frenchman Etienne Capoue and Sandro.

Tottenham have not made contact with Montpellier president Louis Nicollin but spoken to his representatives to sound him out about the possibility of a move. He was due to join Fiorentina but that move has now been delayed as a result of our interest.

Marseilles were turned down, Fiorentina are believed to have bid over £3.96 million ($6.57m - €5m) plus add-ons and Tottenham are said to be about to offer £4.76 million ($7.88m - €6m). You won't be surprised to learn that he has one year left on his contract so Montpellier either have to secure his signature on a new deal or sell him now. Clubs don't want to let players go for free if they can help it, it's the same situation we have with Younes Kaboul.

Tottenham had been chasing 19-year-old PSG central midfielder Adrien Rabiot who is unhappy about the French club buying players instead of giving him a chance. He sends most of his time on the bench but looks to have agreed a deal with Roma.

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The pursuit of Stambouli could mean that we have all but conceded we won't be able to get Morgan Schneiderlin out of Southampton this window otherwise there would be no point seeking alternatives. Schneiderlin is the main target and his arrival would allow Sandro to leave. However that has now been complicated by Napoli's failure to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, they are now in the same competition as Spurs, the UEFA Europa League.

As a result they have a reduced transfer budget and will have to keep wages in check, their transfer business have had to be adjusted accordingly. Sandro could now end up staying at Tottenham which may have explained the performance he put in on Thursday which was at least 50% better than anything he has done this year.

There are reports circulating that he has agreed to join Tottenham but they are premature according to Laurent Nicollin, Montpellier’s Chairman who has confirmed to RMC that “Benji” was still considering his options.

“Now he must decide between England and Italy.”

Tottenham by Carragher & THBN

Former Liverpool and England defender turned Sky Sports pundit, and he's not bad at it, has been answering questions about Tottenham so I've taken the same questions answered them and discussed some important points he makes.

Tottenham by Carragher & THBN

It's always good to hear an outsiders views and especially a former professional as long as they are happy to express their opinions and not pander to the usual media PR and trot out all the usual easy answers. That smacks of a lack of interest and a lack of homework. I don't accuse Jamie Carragher of that, he and Gary Neville have been excellent additions to Sky Sports coverage.

Question - Has a lack of new signings helped Tottenham so far this season with the club on maximum points?

Carragher Answer - "I think so. A lot of the players they signed last summer with the Gareth Bale money struggled to settle but now that they have had a year’s experience of the club and the Premier League they seem to have kicked on.

"But I think one of the few changes they have made, appointing Maurico Pochettino as manager, can bring the best out of Erik Lamela. He was very effective against QPR last week after a real tough time last season with form and injury and you’d think Pochettino, who is from the same country as Lamela, would really understand the lad’s personality and what makes him tick.

"There have been signs so far this season, too, that Pochettino can take the high-pressing game he adopted at Southampton into Tottenham and make a success of it. I wondered whether Spurs’ very individual attacking players could do it but they showed they could against QPR – although it was less aggressive than we saw at Southampton – and it seems like something the manager will demand from his players all season long if they want to stay in the team.

"I think they have a real shot of the top four but I guess their hopes could depend on how seriously Pochettino takes the Europa League. He didn’t seem too interested with the cups at Southampton and if he takes the same approach at Tottenham and focuses on the Premier League, Champions League football is not out of reach."

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THBN Answer - Continuity has played a minor role in the start this season. The back four has changed, against West Ham Eric Dier, a young 20-year-old fresh to the Premier League was playing at centre-back. He had to be moved to right-back after Kyle Naughton was sent off with a defensive midfielder, Etienne Capoue, moving to centre-back, so a lack of new signings played no part in that victory.

Erik Lamela played 331 minutes of Premier League football last season, only once did he play 90 minutes, only 4 times did he get over 16 minutes. He hasn't had a seasons football to acclimatise to the Premier League, he hasn't been playing it, yet he fired against QPR.

Much has been made of too many players being bought with no experience and them not being able to gel which is largely nonsense. Brendan Rogers certainly doesn't believe it, he has gone out and bought 9 new players. If you have the right manager and the right system the players will quickly adapt, football systems are the same the world over, but if you have a manager who doesn't know how to use high quality players then a club will flounder.

Andre Villas-Boas had a reputation built on one season basically but when asked to make the tough decisions he couldn't do it, he had no ideas how to make a side creative, only difficult to beat. When he lost the senior players in the dressing room and the new signing didn't take to him the writing was on the wall. A happy dressing room is vital and Tottenham was a particularly unhappy dressing room, that had more impact on on field performances than any raft of new signings.

The key is the signing of Mauricio Pochettino. The players love him, they know something is around the corner and can see why they are putting in all the hard work. The first two game have given them a glimpse of the future and boosted their confidence. Having a manger who can take a talented bunch of players and say this is the system that will work best for you as has been the case is the sign of a quality manager.

Not enough has been made of who the manager is, the blame for a lack of success has been put down to players but managers come in different ability levels as well. Sir Alex Ferguson took an ordinary team and won the Premier League with them, take him out the equation and we saw basically the same squad flop. They didn't become poor players over a summer break they took an exceptional manager away.

As Carragher points out Tottenham have attacking individuals that thus far they have not been put into a formation or system where you can get the best out of all of them. Last season we had a system that didn't suit Roberto Soldado, we simply didn't pass to him. We relied on Christian Eriksen finishing the season with the whole side built around him.

Daniel Levy has been searching for a top quality manager, someone with that something extra and in Mauricio Pochettino I believe he has found it, the early indications are encouraging. Pochettino has taken those individual players and put them into a system where they can all excel, they can all have their turn in the limelight. Instead of one roaming creative player, all four attackers can now interchange to find the freedom to express themselves.

Having three creators behind a striker causes enormous problems for an opposition, they can't just mark Eriksen out the game any more, there is Chadli and Lamela to worry about. If the team excels the individuals will excel but if a single individual excels it doesn't mean a team will. That hackneyed old phrase 'you have to earn the right to play' is what Pochettino has added but in his case it's for the front four to earn the right to play not just one star.

Hanging onto a manager who can't get the best out of a group of players for the sake of stability is pointless. Stability is only ever any good if you have the right man in the job, if the manager isn't good enough, no amount of time is going to make any difference. Pochettino has demonstrated so far that you don't need years to sort things out, that players learn quickly in the right environment.

Too early to make a conclusive decision obviously but if he is the right man for the right job he could be here quite a while.

Pochettino - Our method is easy

Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham Hotspur have an easy method pf playing football ahead of the English Premier League (EPL) clash with rivals Liverpool at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino - Our method is easy

Liverpool thrashed Tottenham twice last season which is a big thing for the press but not for Mauricio Pochettino as he prepares for the televised game on Sunday.

"The past is the past. I don't want to remember the past. It is a new season, I think a different style, different philosophy. Liverpool invested a lot of money this summer and we went another way. 
"We believe in our squad and add some players for the balance. Two different ways."

You can't change the past but you can change the future, it's the way successful people look at things, once the past has gone you need to let it go or it will pull you down. Spurs fans were not impressed with Danny Rose last season but four times during the summer Pochettino told him he could play for England.

The result, he signed a new 5-year contract, has started the season like a new player and has already received that call up to the senior squad for the upcoming fixtures. The boost to his confidence has been immense.

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That is the different philosophy he talks about improving what you have rather than spending on big name replacements as Liverpool have done with Balotelli.

"I haven't an opinion about that. The only thing is that he is a very good player, a star. For England, for our football, it is important that star players come here. 
"Mario Balotelli is an unbelievable player and that he has very good skill and, okay, it is important for football and for Liverpool, not for us."

West Ham kept their grass as long as they were legally allowed to do for the visit of Tottenham, not something you usually think about as a fan, but Pochettino explanation of the Tottenham style explains why.

"It is an easy method. It is not a difficult method. Our philosophy is play football along the grass, make good combinations, work hard and, at the moment, they are happy."

The players are happy and Pochettino doesn't mind a practical joke with them like the one he pulled on Danny Rose telling him he was being sold instead of the real news that he had been called up by England.

The game against AEL Limassol for a largely second string reminded everyone that passing alone is not enough, the work rate has to go with it then the better chances come and more of them. As long as the players enjoy working hard then the squad has the quality to do very well this season.

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