New era underway in Seattle

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Image: SpursWeb

Mauricio Pochettino began, what is hopefully a successful tenure as Tottenham manager, with a hard fought, competitive 3-3 draw in Seattle against the city’s Sounders on Saturday evening. Penalties from Roberto Soldado and Iago Falque saw Spurs twice come from behind, following Lewis Holtby’s delightful header from a delicious Harry Kane chipped through ball. Spurs, without seven of their World Cup stars, started and rotated youngsters, squad players and more household names throughout the game, and much could be learned from what a was an at times feisty pre-season friendly.

The initial components of a ‘classic’ Pochettino philosophy were clear to see; full-backs wide and progressive, centre half’s encouraged to take the ball on the floor, going forward- slick, quick passing and selective pressing all round. Promising stuff as we looked for that ever illusive median between style and success. Indeed, offensively there was a notable different, especially in the second half. Passing was much faster, players shipped the ball on quicker and there was frequent interchanging of positions. In particular, Erik Lamela looked enthused- fitter, stronger and more confident, whilst youngsters Ceballos and Falque were lively too.

However, the same problems defensively reign. A high, zig-zag like offside trap meant Seattle got in behind us a number of times, a problem which was not helped by Dawson’s willingness to give the ball away in dangerous areas, coupled with Fryers and Naughton’s lack of defensive awareness and positioning. Capoue was poor in front of the back four, and Rose rather invisible- minus was superb goal line clearance. Defensive issues were not helped either in the second half with Kaboul nonsensically stepping up for the Sounders third goal.

Thus, there are many things for Pochettino and his army of backroom staff to ponder and resolve. I’d suggest, as I think most would accept, including the club itself if media reports are anything to go by, that defensive reinforcements are needed and on their way. Ben Davies medical is believed to be due in Seattle, having agreed a fee with Swansea (SkySports), which will surely see Sigurddson move in the opposite direction in the near future, following his late withdrawal from today’s match day squad. However, that will surely not be the end of our window business, another centre back at least is needed. Nevertheless, as admirable as Pochettino’s philosophy is, it may be worth noting, that without the correct players in defensive areas, it would be risky. If you don’t have the players, don’t play the system- in this respect Poch may wish to proceed with caution.

All in all mind, a solid start to the era. Defensive issues will remain until more accomplished, ball comfortable, defence minded defenders are shipped in to resolve the problem. Yet, going forward there was a lot to be positive about; sharp, creative football reared its head. It’s only a start but more of the same please.

Another two State side games remain before our real quality returns from an extended World Cup break. I believe we’re moving in the right direction, and two or so astute signings will underline this. Hope springs eternal!

What did you make of the Tottenham performance?  Have your say below

 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Considering the first game against a team in mid season, good form with a strong starting 11 it was a good showing!!
    Holtby was the best player on the park, Lamela was direct, strong and full of confidence and a few youngsters staked their claim!!
    Dawson needs to quit and join my seniors Sunday league team….he would still be slow!!

  2. Ceballos looked class and confident on the ball. Falque also looked good when he came on. These players have far more technical ability and game awareness than Townsend who was very poor and kept losing the ball as he ran into no mans land on several occasions.

    Carroll played some good passes.

    Holtby looked out of position on the right of midfield and kept coming into the centre and sometimes ran wherever the ball was. He was very fired up but was not in the right position to make the most of his creative ability.

  3. From the article it sounds as if all the things we already knew are still evident. Naughton has no defensive awareness. Dawson gives the ball away in dangerous areas and so on. We are acutely aware that these areas must be addressed and I’m sure that they will be during the course of the new managers tenure. What I’m more pleased about is the report that we seem to be playing the brand of football that excites the fans and I for one am down with that ethos. The biggest danger is expectation. Too much. We cannot expect this new manager to perform miracles so therefore he must be given the time to do it his way and to be honest I really wouldn’t even care if we didn’t qualify for that Europa competition this year even though there is the incentive to be in the champions league for winning it. My feelings are that such a distraction will test the squad we have too much because whilst it’s true that we have a large squad is also true that the same squad doesn’t have enough depth to be able to cope with three cup competitions and league campaign. I’m sorry but we just don’t have that depth. My thinking is that we sacrifice the Europa dream by blooding some of the younger players interspersed with some experienced heads and see how we go there and possibly the same with the other domestic competitions but our focus should be the league to give us a fairer idea of where we really are. A zig zag back four? That kind of defending simply cannot continue if we wish to achieve anything. Which is why Dawson needs to make way along with kaboul and possibly bring back Steven caulker. And I certainly think that we should be holding four strikers in our squad what happened to replacing defoe? These are just my thoughts no doubt others might feel differently but I think if we can get the team playing that brand of football that was at Southampton last year then we can build on that because there were more than a few teams that didn’t fancy playing Southampton last year after initially taking them as mugs. Lillywhitetilidie

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