Former Tottenham midfielder, Danny Murphy, has outlined the ways in which a lack of fans may affect teams when the Premier League resumes, in his latest Daily Mail column.
The BBC Match of the Day pundit believes there will be no difference in terms of intensity due to a lack of fans at the grounds. He insisted that all professionals are intrinsically motivated and will give everything to win matches with or without the fans present.
He wrote: “I’m confident we will see the same levels of intensity and skill as we did before lockdown. TV viewers may take a little time to get accustomed to empty stadiums but I don’t think it’ll have as much impact on the players as people think.
“Remember, most of them will have played in front of small crowds starting out at youth and reserve level. They made it because of their talent and inner mental strength, not because of loud cheers from the sidelines.
“A lack of atmosphere won’t have as much impact on games as you think. That hunger to win tackles or score goals comes from within. You love the adulation when something comes off but it’s not the fans who make your legs move in the first place.”
Murphy also suggested that there will be more focus on the football and less arguing about refereeing decisions with the fans out of the picture.
He added: “You can get caught up by the emotion created by a full house — as I was when sent off for Liverpool against Manchester United.
“There is also an element of playing to the crowd when players argue with referees or dive for free-kicks.
“In a quieter environment when indiscretions can be more easily identified, it might encourage some players to concentrate on football.”
The former Spurs and Liverpool man also argued that possession-based teams will have an advantage when it comes to playing in the summer as the opposition will tire quicker due to the high temperatures.
Murphy claimed: “The weather will be warmer in June and July than during normal seasons. I tend to think that will work in favour of possession-based teams like Manchester City because it’s much harder to chase the ball when it’s 28 degrees Celsius.
“Conversely, it will also suit teams who defend deep and counter-attack. The weather didn’t affect my Fulham team because we conserved energy. Roy Hodgson is now manager at Crystal Palace and they play a similar way.
“Teams who like to press will have to recognise you can’t do it non-stop in baking heat. But managers like Jurgen Klopp are smart enough to adapt. The way Liverpool have paced themselves this season is one of the reasons they are clear at the top.”
Spurs Web Opinion
While I am not too sure if a lack of fans will stop players from moaning about referring decisions, Murphy does make a great point about the temperature having an impact on the intensity of the games. I personally believe playing behind closed doors will suit us as it would allow Jose Mourinho to approach games pragmatically without having Spurs fans get on the team’s back for sitting deep and soaking up pressure.
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