Gazzaniga – 6
He got such a surprise to be on the end of a shot on the hour that he almost dropped the ball. He’ll be deeply unhappy that the defence crumbled in front of him several times before the end. The new, safety first, policy of playing long from the back came as a welcome relief to all concerned.
Well, a new manager and a new era. A first away win in ten months should herald nothing but optimism. However, faced with a winning position and half an hour to go, this team remains as fragile as a collection of china dolls on a goods train. There just didn’t seem to be any confidence in deciding how to play out the match. It’s a challenge you’d imagine Mourinho would find straightforward to address.
But the focus should be on the first hour where the team, exemplified in the performance of Dele Alli, seemed to play with renewed hunger, freedom and organisation.
It’s impossible not to mark the passing of Mauricio Pochettino. We won nothing with him in five years but I would say I have been as proud to have him as our manager as any of them in the last fifty years.
The club made the fatal mistake of not refreshing the ‘project’ eighteen months ago and the momentum stalled. At director level, business decisions took precedence over footballing imperatives and Pochettino was unable to reverse the force of destiny.
For the past six months at least, his heart wasn’t in it and the sacking became something devoutly wished by himself as much as anyone.
Personally, I confess to have expressed nothing but scorn for Mourinho in the past but he is now our manager and he has my support. He is perhaps the only choice capable on holding onto players (and I’m talking the likes of Kane and Son, not the usual suspects).
And I like how he has conducted himself to date, not least in claiming he is going to wear Tottenham jimjams to bed each night!
José Mourinho promises one thing above all else: he’s a winner. And today, despite the international break fatigue and almost despite themselves at times, the team won.
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