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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