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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Pre-season helps break down any inferiority complex

Tottenham had a strong mentality lasts season, perhaps stronger than many a season that preceded it, yet that mentality crumbled in the last four games.

Against WBA we stopped the off-the-ball running which meant we couldn't unlock a defence. The player with the ball can only play passes if the player are moving and against WBA our wide attackers were not giving the full-backs the opportunity to overlap and when there was a chance they were reluctant to do so, thus our attacking play nullified itself, rather than the opposition nullifying it.

That showed a defensive don't lose mentality, rather than a let's win mentality. The against Chelsea we were 2-0 up at half-time and we once again reverted to let's not lose mentality, defending deeper and paying the price. We also lost our heads. Against Southampton, we went through the motions and against Newcastle United completely gave up.

Those four performances were unacceptable. Every player was not guilty, individuals were, but the players were responsible collectively. Our mentality is an area we must continue to work on and improve.

Mauricio Pochettino knows that and will be using the pre-season friendlies against Juventus and Atletico Madrid to help develop it, especially among the emerging players. When we last toured North America Pochettino was ending each game with the youth players having to see out a game. That was a mental test for them and is the sort of mental test he will set in Australia.

The tour is about money, PR, building a fan base and having the chance to play against top teams. Last season we played Real Madrid and AC Milan, this season Juventus and Atletico Madrid. There is more than prestige here, we are matching ourselves against top teams, against better players, who, even though they are using these as training games, are still a better standard of opposition than lesser clubs playing training games.

These are the type of teams we want to be playing regularly and we can't be playing them with an inferiority complex, thus every game we can play against them eats away at that and establishes us at their level. The players have to go through that process too so the mentality aspect of playing these two games has value beyond two pre-season friendlies.

The 2016 International Champions Cup in Melbourne is an opportunity to learn and build the club status, just one tiny step in our growth.


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