The perfect platform for Pochettino and Spurs
The attendance for the 5-0 win against Red Star Belgrade was 51,743, a drop of 10,000. This match should have been packed out, but a certain section of our supporters decided to stay away. That tells you something about the anger of our fans over recent events (most probably thought this was another disaster waiting to happen).
On top of all that, a group of their supporters managed to get illegal tickets for the match (I bet they enjoyed the event!). Now an investigation will be held over their illicit entrance (probably more fines!).
This result hasn’t subsided my anger, how can it do when we only thrashed a mediocre Red star team? Nevertheless, the crowd went home happy, apart from the illegal away supporters who gatecrashed the party (I bet they were pissed!).
This match can’t tell you anything about our away game against Liverpool. I think we could be in for drubbing to nothing unless we really have pulled out our fingers.
I m sure that Pochettino would have gratefully accepted any sort of good news after our recent miserable and degrading run that comprised of that recorded loss to Bayern here in the Champions League, a heavy defeat at Brighton and a fortunate draw at home to struggling Watford side last weekend (not to mention our games against Newcastle and Olympiacos… oh, and our draw against a team that was humiliated by Sheffield United (yes, I am talking about Arsenal).
I would like to say we played well (and we did) but it would be like praising Celtic for their good run when they are the only team of any credit in the Scottish football league (at least we’ve got competition, while they are basically handed any trophies they want at the end of the season). But we are not here to talk about Scottish football failures (or jokes). By the way: What do you call a Scotsman in the knockout stages of the World Cup? A Referee. Or Why were the two Scottish gals travelling in London p*ssed off? Because they found out that Big Ben was a clock! OK, sorry, but I couldn’t resist it.
This match was exactly what the manager (yes, the one we all slagged off over recent games) was hoping for as we put our troubles (fisty-cuffs, splits, drinks etc.) behind us (at least for now) to dominate a timid Red Star and get ourselves right back into our group. And we will probably need this group stage/ competition; as we’ve been knocked out of the League Cup by lowly Colchester and no doubt we will be knocked out of the FA Cup because Pochettino doesn’t rate either competition.
We started with real intensity (as we did against Bayern) and quality and on this occasion were helped by opponents who had neither the resources to resist nor the firepower to offer any serious threat. So, this was essentially the ideal environment for us to at least expel some of our troubles and play ourselves back into shape that has made us a permanent presence in the sky-high reaches of the Premier League in recent seasons and Champions League finalists last term.
Granted, talent remains within our team side, as exemplified by Son and Kane, but we have needed something to re-ignite the flame that took us so far in previous seasons (not, of course, and as I said, our two domestic cups).
But time will tell if we have learnt anything and can build on this victory. There is no point looking back (unless we suffer another defeat and compare the catastrophes), but use it as a platform.
Son was the catalyst and Erik Lamela shines, let us hope they both continue.
Pochettino restored Son and Lamela to the starting line-up after the poor performance against Watford on Saturday and was richly rewarded.
Son is a high-class performer who is at home on the elite stage, and he was the facilitator for this vastly-improved performance, setting the tone from the first whistle with his direct approach. He was also a constant threat, scoring at the far post after Kane had put Spurs ahead and fondling in a calm finish for the third that effectively ended this as a contest right on half-time.
Lamela was also in on the act, sending in the corner for Kane and constructing the second for Son with an excellent turn and cross before putting himself on the scoresheet with a left-footed drive.
Pochettino will, hopefully, be looking for vital signs in all areas of the Spurs team as he tries to pull this talented squad out of their lethargies. I just hope he doesn’t tinker too much and cock the rhythm up (which he has done on numerous occasions).
As for Eriksen, who was on the bench and didn’t get a look in?
Eriksen may have been struggling with a dead leg recently but how significant is it that he was on the bench here (and stayed)? The trouble with him is that he can be hit and miss. I think it is evident that he wishes to go (if anybody wants him) and that is heart is only slightly in it while looking over his shoulder. In certain games, he has given the ball away on too many occasions. Hopefully, he can stay on the bench unless we are desperate. In this game we didn’t miss him as Alli performed well between a more in-depth and more advanced role that earned him a fantastic ovation when he was substituted. Moussa Sissoko and Tanguy Ndombele provided plenty of energy and power, and it is clear that Eriksen, so influential at times in the past, must now fight his way back into position for however long he remains at Tottenham.
The match over and everybody happy, we now wait and see what happens next. Can we, against all the odds, do what nobody has managed to do this season and beat in-form Liverpool? I believe we can. It is games like this that we can surprise everybody by winning something nobody expected us to do. I’ve seen this many times before in my years of following our team. We’ve looked like Muhammad Alli being punched relentlessly by Foreman, only to pull something out from the bottom of his soul and turn things around with one punch. That would be the easy part, the hard part would be to continue from there to a good run. Then we might get some dignity back.
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