Opinion: Time to say goodbye

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Warm-up Andrea Bocelli. Get the orchestra ready. Maybe we can have a proper send-off, since we certainly don’t have anything resembling proper football being played by this club anymore. I have been in willful denial about this manager—and this team—for months now. But how sweet thy sound—was blind but now I see. It’s done. We will have the pretence of a trophy hunt until the Toffees—or someone else ends one cup chase, City will easily extinguish the other—and are Wolfsberger better than Brighton? If so we are out of that competition soon as well. Top Four? Laughable. Top Seven? Doubtful. Tenth or eleventh? Entirely possible. This is a poor team, poorly managed, apparently not motivated, lacking answers, ability or both. What more evidence do we want than the last two defeats at our spanking new and sadly empty new stadium

I’ll start with the back. They got better after conceding the inevitable early goal, and the keeper had a fine game to allow us a shout at a result—but we all know the truth. It is a dead-bang average group of players—no special talent anywhere. Dier was dumped so Davies came on to be beaten time and time again, Alderweireld is fading faster than Donald Trump’s social media presence though he saved a goal at the death, Rodon was uninspired, and whatever defensive skill Sissoko supplies is not accompanied by any great skill going forward. It was never going to be a side that could keep Brighton—Brighton!!!—at bay, so this game would be won or lost by our ability to attack.

Which means, of course, that it was lost. Just open your mind’s eye to what we saw—one team running into space, organized, passing quickly, creating chance after chance, fullbacks overlapping and adding to the stress level for the defenders—and the other? Pedestrian. Unimaginative beyond long balls launched to nowhere. Wingers hemmed in with little thought or ability to break free. Midfielders playing ring around the rosey. Occasional 1 v 3 or 1 v 4 efforts by forwards with little else available or in mind. Slow. Weak. Dull. How many good chances were ever created in this game? One key save was forced in the second half, from Vinicius. Son and Lamela tried long shots that went straight to the keeper. All the others were blocked, sent wide or simply gobbled up by the other side. As to the individuals, Bale isn’t, can’t be and will never be even one-tenth of the player we remember. Vinicius is a poor excuse for a striker—Son has no ability or awareness to play Number Nine, Bergwijn at least supplies energy and pace, but there is never a good end result to all that sturm and drang. While Sissoko was in the midfield in the first half, neither he nor Hojgberg produced much of anything, Ndombele was only marginally better.

But the real problem is our system—or the lack thereof. With the exception of Bale and Vinicius, every other midfielder and attacker on the pitch last night have been here for all of Jose Mourinho’s fifteen months. Why is there no understanding of how to produce a goal? Where is the link-up play? The quick movement? The overlapping runs? The incisive passes? The answers to those questions are all the same, and it is a sad truth. Non-existent. Jose doesn’t do any of that, and relies instead on his players’ ability to read a game and react to a situation. Sorry, Jose. With Makelele, Robben, Drogba, Lampard, Hazard and a whole lot of others, that approach might have been successful in the past. This isn’t the past. We are a pathetic attacking squad—and the results prove it. After teams figured out how to defend the Kane-Son counterattack and long ball strategy our attack has disappeared. The players aren’t good enough. The approach isn’t good enough. Leicester are better going forward. Chelsea are better going forward. So now are Arsenal and Aston Villa and don’t get me started about Liverpool or the two Manchester sides. They are in another galaxy. Off of today, even Brighton are better going forward.

This team has peaked—two years or more ago. Major changes are coming, from the manager on down. It won’t be pretty. And it won’t make things better overnight. Europe will be sacrificed. The finances will be nerve-wracking as sell-out crowds are hardly guaranteed once the pandemic allows fans back in the grounds. 

Some awful good personnel decisions—the type that characterised the first three or four years of the Pochettino regime—will be necessary or things could get very ugly. Levy took a big gamble with Jose—I’m not upset that he did. But gambles sometimes don’t pay off, however necessary they might have been. This project is just about done. 

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Sound and fury signifying nothing. Firing a player or manager is easy, if expensive, replacing them with someone better is hard. Of course there’s no mention of who this new improved manager is going to be. Maybe the team just plays without one ?

  2. It pains me to say It , but that’s the best article I’ve read on our current situation. The Squad ( ( ( (Although reaching CLF ) has been waning over the past 3 Year’s and a complete overhaul is needed . Why can’t we have a high energy team like lot’s of others 🤞, and defensively ( Aurier / Docherty / Sanchez / Alderwierld / Dier / Davies) we are a laughing stock. Poor players with no individual responsibility or understanding of how to defend.

  3. I for one want my Tottenham back!!!!! As this shower of s#$t is just not exceptable. Get Jose out and bring in Nuno Espirito Santo in, I think he would do a fantastic job for us, he plays his teams very similar to Poch

    • Yeah good call Santo,as for Pochettino 1 in 10 games were awsome the rest backwards and sideways settle for a draw,he cost us 2 title chances and a CL with his gutless selections,he was Mourinho’s underdog so you could see where he got the negativity,anyway we are in deep s**t now unless we get rid of Mourinho,said it was a disastrous move when we got him i prayed i would be wrong but unfortunately not,and while we are at it we don’t want that turn coat back Erikson and Donkey Dier,Davies,Sanchez,Winks,Doherty all need to be gone,but to be fare would want them

  4. That was embarrassing the other night. Bale is a massive mistake , things will get worse before they get better , more pain to come , son looked lost , no creative player what so ever , I nearly fell asleep watching

  5. Sick of negative comments surrounding Bale he had enough of that in Spain, needs more game time I back him 100% he is still in there

  6. I’ve been crying out for someone to write this article and articulate the feelings that I and many others hold about the direction the club is taking with the current coach. When you hire a used car be prepared for the wheels to come off. There are those who of course refuse to believe what their ears and eyes are telling them and will resist this incisive and clinical analysis of our team’s gradual decline and disintegration. I hope the Chairman is not one of them.

  7. TOTALLY agree with superb article.we are a total shambles.wouldnt be confident of beating anyone at present.Kane and Son ran into ground and jaded already.Our best players sitting on the bench or at home.most of those playing just good enough for relegation scrap.Mourinho never the man for our club . we’ll end this season having gone further backwards and won nothing.Sorry to say I prefer to watch villa,west ham,City or sad to say our nasty neighbours!Prefer to win nothing playing the right way than win nothing playing the rubbish which has been inflicted on us by
    a manager past sell by date for years.How lucky he’s been that our ground is closed.Need an Eddie Howe or Brendan Rogers to play the beautiful game

  8. Wow, that hits the nail right on the head. Couldn’t have written it better myself.
    Was totally gobsmacked by our performance against Brighton, clueless defending and even worse going forward(sideways!).
    Massive clear out needed. Start with Jose and then Dier,Aurier,Sanchez, Docherty,Davies,Lloris,Lamela, Sissoko and Bergwjin all need to be bombed out of the club asap.
    Big job for someone to rebuild the club, and
    I don’t mind lossing games for a season or two if that’s what it takes, but preforaces like Brighton are just not acceptable.
    COYS.

  9. Son has no ability or awareness to play Number Nine?
    I dont agree because he hadnt got any good pass from his teammates as Jose admitted. And Brighton already knew Jose’s boring offence strategy which relys on only Son because of Kane’s absence and they had three or four defenders surround son all the game. The biggest problem is Jose’s strategies are not creative but too expectable.

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