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Saturday, 17 September 2016

Beating Stoke 4-0 wasn't good enouggh

Changing the mentality of a club is no easy thing, staff get set in their ways and folk generally do not like change. While Daniel levy has been driving change off the field with his high standards approach, Mauricio Pochettino has been tasked with changing it on the field.

The attitude has improved as we have weeded out those more interested in themselves than working to the managers desires or those simply here to collect a cheque. Others who have lost and not rediscovered form have been let go while there are others who have taken us so far and now also been moved on.

The squad is much more how Pochettino wants it, young, hungry and with a desire to improve individually and collectively as a team. We have made giant strides in the right direction but naturally, there are areas that still need addressing.

We are still not clinical enough in front of goal, we are not clinical enough when we have counter-attacks, too often the final ball is wrong or the player has too many choices and simply can't decide what to do. We have seen failed counter-attacks several times already this season.

Another area we need to work on is our initial approach. Under Harry Redknapp we had a not lose in the first half approach and only really tried to win games in the second half. We seem to have a legacy of that because we are still starting games slowly, as if we are not prepared for other sides to come out of the blocks fast. While opponents go for it, we seem to try to feel our way into the game. Pochettino seems to be of the same view.

"I wasn't happy after that result but ok, we are in a period that we need to still improve a lot.

"I remember the first half was the same as against Monaco. In the first actions they had the facility to score, and then because we scored late in the first half and again in the second half we won 4-0. But my feeling did not change from the result, it changed from the performance and what I can see during the game. 
"It's not that I'm happy because it's 4-0, we need to be clever and analyse the circumstance of the game. Sometimes you have luck, sometimes not. Maybe if Stoke had scored in the first few minutes, maybe the result would have been different – and against Monaco, the first chance, they scored. The second chance they scored. 
"We allowed them to score and then it was difficult and we lost the game. But I'm not a fan, I'm a professional about football. I need to analyse it in a different way, that is a massive difference."

"In the same way I talk with you, I talk with them. It doesn't change. All that I explain to you after the game and today they know from me in private. 
"It's not a problem, I am very honest with them. The only possibility to improve is to be honest with them."

It is that honesty some fans don't like, you win 4-0 and some think you should be content with that, but why? The aim is to improve, there is always things that can be improved and our start to games is clearly one of them. I have long stated that when we are 3-0 up we should be clinical, we should treat the next chance just the same as if it were 0-0. Finishing needs practicing so that when we are 0-0 and a chance arrives we are practiced at taking it, instead of having to try and turn that ability back on after being casual about it in the previous game.

Continuous small improvements.


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