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Sunday, 22 November 2015

Dembele's hidden messages


I love listening to Mousa Dembele because he says so much when he speaks, usually for me, more than anyone else. Take his recent comments.


“As a team we are playing in a very disciplined way. Everybody knows each other and they know what to do.  
"The mentality changed with the new manager. You can see the difference – the mentality, the style of play. 
“We play more pressing, we try to be more sharp, whereas in the past we were two goals up and then we’d draw. 
“This year people talk more, you have to be awake. There has been a big change this year and everyone can see that.”

A team has to play to a structure, they follow a game plan and within our system Mauricio Pochettino has them understanding each others role. If you understand the role your teammate is playing you can anticipate greater what he is going to do. You can anticipate what you can do to help him, either by offering a passing option or by creating space with an off the ball run. You need to know not just what the man with the ball can do but what the result of your actions will be on other teammates and whether you are creating an option for them to do something to help. It is like a game of chess, some can only think a move ahead, other think many moves ahead. To be most effective players must be able to think many moves ahead.

Dembele recognises that when he says we are playing in a very disciplined way and that they know each other and they know what to do.

Naturally, given I have been discussing it for so long now, I'm delighted the mentality has changed at the club. I can't stress enough how important that is to success. The majority don't possess a winning mentality and it is difficult for them to understand it, similarly it is very frustrating for those with it to play with those without it. You feel let down by a lack of effort sometimes, a lack of focus and we can't understand why someone wouldn't want to be the best they can be. 

The desire, therefore, is to play in a team full of winning mentalities and thus players have left the club to seek it elsewhere. By changing our mentality, we give ourselves a greater chance of keeping hold of players because they are surrounded by players striving for the same thing, as opposed to players staying in a comfort zone and going through the motions.

Again Dembele emphasises this saying; "The mentality changed with the new manager. You can see the difference. This year people talk more, you have to be awake. There has been a big change."

I don't care what level of sport you play, winning is everything, winning is enjoyment and putting in the graft in training to be the best you can be on the day is utterly essential. Those who know me know of my desire to win and have felt my wrath when they have not come up to my expectations.

In my latter years I was playing a cricket game once, as captain. We were a young side and my role at that time was to improve players for a higher standard having dropped down a side. Our opening bowler (our quickest bowler) had just got on of the opposing batsmen out. 

We now had a chance in a tough game to take more wickets with a fresh batsman coming in. I wanted everyone to be focused, ready to give maximum effort and to expect the ball to come to them. A team talk was required, I called everyone into a huddle and delivered my motivational piece. Our opening bowler though commented it was just a bit of fun.

The next week he didn't open the bowling, I didn't bowl him to the end of the game where I determined he would be the best man to get all the lesser players out. I knew this would annoy him because the quickest bowlers like to bowl first when the ball is shiny and at its hardest. I bowled all my other bowlers until there was only enough time for him to bowl his spell of over without a rest. 

I sat very specific fields for each batsman and told him exactly what I wanted him to do, get the last 6 batsmen out. He did and he bowled quicker than he normally did. After the game he did indeed tell me he was annoyed at the time but delighted now. He never questioned anything I did again and indeed now wanted to take that step to a higher level so took advice on how to achieve it.

The Dembele situation is similar, he was simply left out given a minor role, he was no longer used as the player he thought he was. His ego was challenged and he responded in the right way. Everyone has that motivation inside them, the key is bringing it out. In the case of a club cricketer or a professional footballer it is the same, it is ego and internal motivation that determines mentality.

For me the change is Spurs is dramatic. No longer are we a bunch of triers, we are a group of determined improvers who want to win and win badly. That augurs well for the future. It is so so so important to success.


Further Tottenham articles from THBN
Spurs £9.09m offer turned down
Tottenham keep tabs on versatile Italian
US investor interest just the tip of the iceberg for Tottenham
The Dele Alli affect

Can you image your child's face when he sees you have kitted his room out with Spurs curtains and a Spurs bed with a Spurs rug or pillow pet. A Spurs poster on the wall, an alarm clock (they might even get up for school on time), an inflatable chair. You know they'll love them all and they won't be a toy they play with for 5 minutes then hardly touch again when that fad has passed. You just can't go wrong with a Tottenham gift. Head across to Football-Shop.net and grab yours in plenty of time for Christmas. Make every morning a Tottenham morning for them.


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