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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

We needed to prove a point

There is a world of difference between a fans understanding and reading of football and a coaches understanding and reading because a coach takes far much more into account. A coach will look far more off the field and into a players character to assess their ability.

A fan isn't trained and generally doesn't know what signs to look for. They generally see the game and base their opinion on what they see there, but the players character and mental approach dictate their play. If you can understand their character, their mental approach and what most importantly what their life motivation is then you'll get the best out of them as a footballer.

There were some very interesting comments from Gary Neville during the commentary of the Tottenham victory over Manchester City. The one that stuck out was about Pep Guardiola looking for players who could handle the mental pressure, who could remain calm under the type of intense pressure we were placing them under.

Kolorov was a prime example of one who couldn't, he was being carried. Anyone can beat a weak side, you do not build a squad based on that standard. You do not buy players based on that standard. If you want to win titles then you have to be able to handle the big stage and that is a mental thing. By going with youth he is tapping into players who are still learning, who are still open to ideas and to the sports science of today.

Not all young players have the right attitude. How a player reacts to not playing every week is just as important as what they do when they are playing regularly. Some think they have a divine right to be picked, some demand guaranteed game time which rather suggests a seed of doubt about their own ability to hold down a place.

We have players who are not playing every week but understand that to be at a top team means squad rotation, means you'll play, but you may not play the big games you want to. Some player ego's can't handle that and they rebel. Emmanuel Adebayor rebelled, Paulinho downed tools, Etienne Capoue rebelled.

You go back now and look at the players who wanted Pochettino out, the fans and website authors who wanted Pochettino out too. They were plain wrong, they didn't know what they were talking about, they were and are not up to speed with winning and how you go about becoming a winning side.

The simplistic buy the best players isn't the whole story because the best player is the player with an open mind who has the skill set to fit your system and that may not be who is perceived to be the best player by others.

Small things matter. Take Dele Alli, another great game against manchester City because he was switched on. The whole Spurs team were alert all the time, nobody was going to sleep, nobody was turning off for an instant.

Against Monaco at Wembley though, that was exactly what Dele Alli did, not tracking a runner for one of their goals. His not tracking led to problems for our centre-backs that they couldn't handle. We didn't close the crosser of a ball down as quickly as we did against City when our full-backs were charging out to face up to wingers.

That tiny difference is about ability, it's about mentality. You have to see every game as a big game game an play that way accordingly, I remember making the same point last season. Seeing perceived little games as big games wins titles. It reduces the poor result factor, it reduces the off day factor.

Mauricio Pochettino is still building, still teaching, the players are still learning, there is still trial and error. You can see we are learning from our mistakes, we are improving our understanding of our system and how to play it.

Buying new players means they have to go through the same learning process whereas a player like Cameron Carter-Vickers is already being groomed in it. That is what makes our philosophy of a conveyor belt of players so important. They are being trained in the Tottenham way and if they have a mental chink missing they will be let go regardless of the skill they may have.

We have just seen that with Alex Pritchard and Nabil Bentaleb. There are exciting times ahead for the club and therefore for us supporters.


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