Well that was a bit unexpected wasn’t it? Good old, affable AVB hitting out at his own supporters after the win against Hull on Sunday, where did that come from? I was as taken aback as anyone after his post match outburst, but his frustration was plainly visible and on deeper inspection one gets the feeling that the gaffer has been waiting some time on letting his feelings be known…. maybe this diatribe wasn’t from left-field as we thought.
Leaving Villas Boas’ outburst aside, is there a bigger issue at play here than the frustrations of the White Hart Lane faithful affecting their teams’ performance? The most worrying thing for me about Sunday’s game is that given our current position as a potential top four side, teams are now coming to the lane set up for a draw. Hull caused a few problems during Sunday’s game but they were set up with two banks of four for long periods making it increasingly harder for the home team to break them down. Was this to be expected? Absolutely. So why did it look like we were heading for yet another frustrating day against supposedly weaker opposition?
The answer lies in the fact that at the minute, Spurs simply aren’t creative enough, especially at home. All too often the lone front man is left isolated, leaving Soldado cutting a forlorn figure at times. With both Townsend and Lennon starting on Sunday the selection looked extremely positive but after an hour it was plain to see that Lennon, albeit an unfit Lennon, plainly can’t play on the opposite wing leaving a heavily shackled Townsend as our primary creator. Holtby was largely anonymous highlighting a point I made in a previous article that he isn’t consistent enough and doesn’t seize the opportunity when given it. Eriksen did make a difference when he came on but he showed flashes of creativity rather than providing a constant threat meaning his performance against Norwich on his debut is becoming a faded memory.
All this led to the fans getting on the players’ cases and led to AVB taking umbrage with the White Hart Lane faithful and expressing his ire at what he perceived to be a negative atmosphere. The Portugese would do well to remember that every supporter has a right to be heard given the fact they’re handing over the hard money to watch their team at the weekend. On the other side of the coin, from a manager’s and player’s perspective getting a barracking from your own supporters must be one of the worst feelings in football, it installs a greater sense of urgency which invariably leads to panic. Now, I wasn’t at the game on Sunday so it’s hard for me to tell how good or bad the atmosphere was but from reading posts on some fan pages, the general consensus from supporters is the frustration at the lane was palpable until we got the much discussed penalty in the dying minutes.
If we look at our better performances this season, they’ve arguably come away from home: both games at Villa and the Europa league tie against Anzhi, stand out for me as our best performances, the only exception to this was the Norwich game when the afore-mentioned Eriksen debut deservedly took the plaudits. Obviously, teams are going to play a more open game at home against us but it could also be argued that maybe the players feel less pressure away from the lane leading to better all round performances.
The bottom line is this: the last thing any of us want or need is an “us and them” situation where AVB and his team feel maligned and go out to perform in spite of, rather than because of, us…the fans. Like a marriage, we signed up for better or worse, we need to have a bit more patience and belief in a manager that we have up until now, backed without question. The three points from Sunday are in the bag and it’s on to a difficult game away to Everton, hopefully our recent away form continues and we keep in touch with the leaders. COYS.
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