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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Southampton and Townsend demonstration

Southampton and Townsend demonstration

I see Southampton boss Ronald Koeman is calling for a change of mentality at Southampton and Andros Townsend has had to change his mentality at Spurs. As we know skill is simply not enough in football, just ask the Chelsea fans who have been watching Eden Hazard decide he doesn't want to play for Jose Mourinho anymore, the result, he is a shadow of the player he is when his mentality is right.

It is a stark reminder that whether you like it or not, whether you agree with it or not, the right mentality is the number one component a player and a team must have. It controls everything.

Andros Townsend is said to not want to leave Tottenham, although his father wants him to leave. He, in that respect, epitomises a point I made some 18 months and more ago now about us needing to build a young squad that grows together, learns a system together and develops a bond with the club that may make it harder for them to want to leave. Townsend is the proof of the pull factor. Now whether fans want him to stay or whether they feel he is good enough is immaterial, I use Townsend merely to demonstrate the point I was getting across back then. 

Harry Kane is another, he has that bond. The more we develop in that mould the more we have the opportunity to keep for longer. Both you will note are English. Some fans out there don't believe a bond can be developed or that it makes any difference. Sorry but that is rather a simplistic approach, emotion is the determining factor in decision making. Creating the right environment with squad members around you with the right mental attitude breeds optimism and positivity. If the group is young even better, youngster love to be in a group of their own. It's a bit like a young Sunday morning football team who are not married with children, they play, drink, socialise together, they are one big happy family. There is a bond between them. 

Recreating that bond in a professional situation is what team building exercises are all about, creating a group of mates who don't want to let each other down. You then have a player with a bond to a club and a bond to his teammates. It just adds to the pressure to stay in that environment.

You can not be complacent with mentality though, just because a player has it at one point doesn't mean it doesn't need consistent reinforcement. Southampton are demonstrating that, they are slipping from the standards Pochettino set and Koeman lived off for his first season. The England Rugby team after winning the World Cup under Clive Woodward, now Sir Clive Woodward are a prime example. When he left the management just assumed everything would continue as Woodward had put in place, but unless the driving force is there from the top it doesn't. English rugby declined and we have not climbed back since.

You hear Pochettino bringing mentality into an interview all the time, a) because it is important, and b) because it continually needs to be reinforced to avoid stagnation.

A winning mentality has to be reinforced, especially when a player isn't playing. if you take away the underlying reason for having a winning mentality, and that may well be a personal, not professional reason, then that mentality will wane. Players who can maintain it when they are not playing and then produce when they do play demonstrate the mental strength you need in a successful squad.

There is a lot to like about Tottenham at the moment, everything isn't perfect, improvements can be made, but we are heading in the right direction along the right lines.

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You can pick up this Harry Kane poster and around 4,000 other gifts at the so why not encourage your child to keep his/her room tidy and to do the household chores or homework each month by rewarding them each month with something for their bedroom if they achieve your desired standards.


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