Last season I authored a piece entitled ‘Fading Direction’, the basis of which detailed our decline from a Champions League side, to a team of hopeful imposters, amid last season’s slump from capitulation to capitulation. This season however, as I pen this article, I am delighted with our apparent reincarnation as a respectable Champions League challenger. At last, we are travelling along the right path, and in the right direction.
Mauricio Pochettino thus far, has done an astounding job. Primarily, he has got the team playing with an intensity and passion we have not seen in sometime. Not only that, but we are actually playing rather well. There is a clear gameplan, system and formation, although sometimes a ‘plan B’ lacks, if I’m being ultra-critical.The manager has created a certain spirit around the camp, which as much as it involves the players who are playing, or in the squad from week to week, it encompasses the players who have latterly found themselves somewhat excluded; Adebayor, Capoue and Kaboul, being but three. Pochettino’s ability, to seemingly keep them ‘on-side’, or at least stopping them from being a disruptive force, says a lot about his man management, and what he’s creating within the dressing room at White Hart Lane.
Nevertheless, this revitalisation as a force has centred around three players; Kane, Mason and Bentaleb- they have been outstanding. Kane gets all the plaudits, and rightly so with his goalscoring record, but the roles of Bentaleb as anchor in midfield, and the energy and combativeness Mason brings cannot be overlooked. Bentaleb, in particular, is a serious, serious player, especially given he’s only at the tender age of 20. More recently too, Eric Dier has risen to prominence with some good performances, in what persists to be a shakey backline. This is one area that Spurs can, and must improve upon if we are to break into the top four this season, or in the future.
In addition to on-pitch positives, there now also seems to be a coherent plan across the club. Levy is, so far backing his man, and appears settled to give Pochettino the time he deserves. He trusts the manager, and there is no greater signal of this than the clubs announcement this week, that instead of a pre-season tour, there will be a mini post-season tour, which will meet the club business aspirations, and also allow the first team greater focus and continuity in the build up to the new season. *Alleluia, alleluia.*
Furthermore, the first signs of our world class training centre are playing off. Kane, Mason and Bentaleb have forged a path that should, be followed by more home-grown youngsters. Indeed, there are high hopes for Alex Pritchard, who is pulling up trees at Brentford, Milos Velijkovic, whose loan deals at Middlesbrough and Charlton were cut short by injures; Ryan Fredericks at Middlesbrough; and also Grant Hall at Blackpool. On top of thee, the Under 18’s are one leg away from a Youth Cup Final as they take a 2-0 lead to Stamford Bridge in just over a weeks’ time.
As a result, there is no doubt, that the clubas a whole are all pulling as one, in the right direction. The first team had the youngest average age in the league over the season on Saturday, and will only improve with time, and perhapswith one or two astute acquisitions- product of our revamped scouting and recruitment network, under Paul Mitchell. Likewise, the footballing side and boardroom appear to be on the same level at long last, whilst our youngsters are also starting to thrive in league football, and at youth level. All this meant a feeling of positivity which overcame many of us last Sunday, even in defeat at Wembley. Indeed, we’re not there yet, and may not be for sometime, however Tottenham Hotspur are finally travelling in the right direction, with a clear, coherent strategy, and a greater player-supporter affinity than there has been for a while. The club is in a great position, and now it is only us that can make, or break, our destiny. Up the Spurs!
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