Did Pochettino’s naivety cost Spurs Wembley glory

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

The post game fan semi final inquests are ten a penny. From the “clueless Pochettino” posts on social media to the “the boys did well, we’ve played away from home all season” etc etc.

As a Spurs fan how do you analyse such a game and objectively look at the performance.One of the biggest gripes in the social media bubble we find ourselves (yes I get the irony considering of the social media links of this site) You are either right and a hero or wrong and duly informed to “support someone else” cos we are “TTID” after all. But there is no in-between

Well if I had a fence my rear end would be firmly sat on it right now after Saturday’s defeat to Manchester United.

The positives of course must come first. We raced out of the traps early and Dele got on the end of a pin point cross from the in-form Christian Eriksen. We were in control and chances came and went. The normally strong and reliable Mousa Dembele was out muscled by Pogba who sent in a cross for Sanchez to head home. A drop in concentration at the back to which we never recovered from. It’s a trend we seem stuck in, Chelsea semi final last season, Juventus Wembley defeat and now again yesterday.

The current squad reminds me of the “Golden Generation” England squad, the one that had Terry, Lampard, Gerrard, Beckham, Rooney etc. A talented squad but without the collective mentality to win when it really mattered most. It’s arguably the strongest squad we’ve had in a very long time but it’s tainted with the “always the bridesmaid never the bride” tag. Togetherness is often spoken of about this squad and wage issues aside you’d have to wonder how long these players can put up with being the nearly men. Kyle Walker’s success at Manchester City won’t have gone unnoticed and I’m sure our squad would like to taste that success.

Mauricio Pochettino is one of the finest coaches around. His methods have got us playing attractive but disciplined football at times and he’s upped the level of the majority of our team. There are people that will not have a bad word said against him. However I don’t believe that he shouldn’t be immune to criticism. Throughout this FA Cup run he consistently played down any importance of winning the trophy. And to a big extent I get his point. The top 4 and Champions League are the holy grail. It’s where the money, kudos and all the best players are.

However I do think it was extremely naive of him. How can you get your players motivated for a competition you clearly don’t rate. Surely if you enter a competition no matter what it is you enter because you want to win? Fergie, Wenger, Mourinho, all winners and I’m sure they too see the FA Cup as a pain but never publicly dismissed it.

Pochettino’s stubborn streak rears its ugly head a lot. I don’t think he’s bad tactically and he gets it right more often than not but I just think he sometimes sticks to his guns too much. Take Son yesterday for example, he clearly struggled to get into it for the majority of the contest yesterday but Pochettino persisted with him for 85 minutes. Defensively we struggled and perhaps it might have been better to have brought on Alderweireld for Davies and just switch Jan to left back. He switched Jan but pushed Dier back instead. Up to that point Big Eric was having a relatively decent game in the heart of our midfield. Hindsight after the fact is a wonderful thing though right.

What was the point in having Toby on the bench. If he’s off then fine but either play him (he’s still a class player) or don’t put him in the squad at all and let him see out the season. Why bench him.? Don’t get me wrong I believe he’s a great coach, and perhaps he’s still learning but he must be able to look at the whole picture which includes himself and his own failings too.

We can analyse until the cows come home but the facts are we failed when it mattered yet again. It’s harder to take because we know the talent is there, and the likes of Eriksen, Kane and Vertonghen deserve something for their outstanding contributions this season. We probably say it every summer but this transfer window has probably become the most important in recent history.

Toby may (probably) go, Danny Rose could follow suit. The wage structure, though admirable, isn’t really viable if you want sustained on field success. We have a huge opportunity to step up again, we need to realise the opportunity or we will forever be playing catch up. Perennial underachievers standing still. The players might get bored, worse still so might Pochettino.

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  1. Don’t see us winning anything until Levy sells up. His only goal is to increase profits so he can pay himself a huge wage while holding back the team with his tight fisted attitude.

  2. If Poch had predetermined to leave it was his policy to say losing the semi was not important in the big picture
    Alternatively he considers that he has taken Spurs as far as he ( or anyone )can given the financial blinkers
    He rarely speaks unintended and my guess is that he has been poached by either Real or maybe Chelsea

  3. Sonny was poor and should have been replaced by Lamela much much earlier, Kane was not worth playing (not fully fit – and ineffective), Alderweirald not on the field……..I think that Poch does not want to upset Kane by leaving him out of the team….

  4. When there’s no pressure on we can beat anyone and do, as soon as we get to the business end of things, the players don’t turn up! They obviously can’t handle it, they bottle it. But surely this is down to the coach to sort this. I usually will not read HH as I think he’s a closet gooner, but now I understand what he’s continually on about.I do think that poch is the best we have had in a very long while, but this constant crap of we are young and learning is running thin. Soon the backbone of the team will be gone due to under achieving and we will be starting AGAIN with more youngsters, then what, will we have to wait for another 4 years. I cannot see us improving from where we already are. What to do?

  5. Yes, it shouldn’t take 4 years to get the team to win “something”. Spurs obviously do not want to spend the sort of silly money that City, United and Chelsea spend. I guess that is their business plan. However, without more spending it is obvious that Spurs will, seemingly, fail to achieve trophies.

    Don’t get me wrong…I think that the obscene amount of money that a few clubs can spend (seemingly flouting the intent of FFP rules) is the worst thing that happened to football. It is NOT a game anymore but a business. Just how much money can players actually spend of the enormous salaries and bonuses anyway? I know their “working lifetime” is relatively short, but they can make so much money in those few years that they can set themselves up for life. Maybe they should stop getting tattoos out the wazoo and spend less on haircuts?

  6. 3 x very poor substitutions yesterday
    1) Lucas >> Davis – after that we totally lost our shape & did not put one decent cross in. Eriksen went too deep, and Dier who was playing really well went in defense
    2) Wanyama >> Dembele – Moussa was poor first half but just starting to get into the game and had made 2 or 3 good runs forward in the 10 mins prior to being taken off, and why bring on a more defensive player at that point in time
    3) Lamella >> Sonny – Son was good first 20 mins but faded out and became totally ineffective in the 2nd half – should have happened on 70 mins not 85


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