The Swansea Result is Pochettino’s Fault

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

I will preface this article by saying that I love Mauricio Pochettino. He is the real deal, we have struck gold by finally finding an excellent manager.

But, in the same way that even a broken clock is right twice a day, even an exceptional manager can get it wrong.

My thought before the game was that Swansea would play into our hands, they are typically a team that likes to play football, and we would be able to pick them apart as they tried to go toe to toe with us. I was wrong. What transpired was that they sat with 10 men behind the ball for 85 minutes and invited us to break them down. We weren’t prepared for this with a team that included 3 centre halves and a converted centre half playing in midfield. We had no creativity, we had no width with Son playing out of position at wing-back and wandering where he liked, and we effectively had two strikers on the pitch not receiving service (I am counting Alli as a striker, he does precious little in the midfield these days).

But, my main issue was the lack of flexibility and quickness of thought to change this. Poch’s attempt was to release Son to the more attacking role to which he is more accustomed, by moving Sissoko to wing-back. What this gave us was two players out of position instead of one. Trippier’s best attribute is arguably his crossing ability (nullified by moving to the left), and Sissoko is totally hopeless at pretty much everything he does.

What his move didn’t give us was any additional creativity or plan b to break Swansea down.

We finally brought on Llorente to give us a different method to attack Swansea, but we took off the wrong player in Son; Alli should have gone off as he was contributing about as much as me at that point. And with our new 6ft 4” striker up front alongside our 6ft 2” striker, we didn’t manage to put any real quality service into them. In the air or on the floor.

Unfortunately, these situations are reasonably common these days (a mark of how far we have progressed that teams make a plan to scrape a draw), but we still haven’t managed to work out how to get round them. Evidenced by our away record from last season, which was a good amount worse than Chelsea’s, which is why we didn’t win the league.

We only have one player who you feel regularly that he is able to create clear-cut chances out of nothing, Christian Eriksen. But he can’t unfortunately be expected to do that on his own, every week. As much as the likes of Kane, Son, Alli, Dembele, Dier etc have their own talents, we still lack another player who can see (and complete) a pass that the opposition defence can’t see coming. You may argue that this is a transfer window problem (and perhaps that of Daniel Levy, not Mauricio Pochettino), but I still feel there was a way of winning that game. Manchester City have been battering teams this season, often you look at City’s line up and wonder what shape Guardiola must be playing, surely this time he has gone too far. And then they win 6-0.

And this is where I think Pochettino got it wrong on Saturday. Other teams have raised their games and changed their plans to face us. It is about time we adapt accordingly and throw some of our pragmatism aside and really go after teams. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and all that. Because if we don’t, we may well end up in a shiny new stadium having finished 6th or 7th and having to rebuild after City, United, Barcelona, Madrid and all the rest double some more of our players wages.

What are your thoughts?  Have your say below

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  1. Glad someone has pointed this out. Boy we miss Lamela as a creative option. We needed Winks on the field as he provides faster passing and generally looks to move forward first.

  2. The best way to beat sides who come to Wembley to play for a draw, with 10 men behind the ball for 90 minutes, is to hit them with a goal as early as possible so that they then have to come out an play. This means spurs have got to go on an all out press in the first 15 minutes.

  3. When we struggle , we tend to make 60% of the play in the midfield of the pitch. And you dont make goals there. And always when we struggle , we lack a creative playmaker who can break the deadlock. I saw it last season and it continues.
    I support the transfer strategy of buying young and develope , and I suppose the longterm plan was to prioritise defence this transfer window , but it is obvious today, that in order to boost the attacking , we need a creative playmaker who can deliver in attacking. We also need speed in attacking. Look at the damage Abraham did to our defence, running 8ths around them in the last game. With the right team around him he could be lethal. Mr Bale did 35km/h and scoring in his last game. Just a couple of examples, I m sure there are more speedster to find. So even though the new Stadium has to be the priority, its always about money, and Spurs is very well run, I believe management have work to do before and during the January window.
    Coys ( since 1963)

  4. totally agree with Jason. I think Poch is a fantastic manager/coach, but sometimes we have to play using a different style. Dele clearly had other things on his mind on Saturday, seemed to be complaining a lot, and contributing very little. To take off Son when Dele was the obvious choice to be replaced was very strange. A move which was compounded by bringing on Llorente and then not playing to his strengths as others have mentioned. Yes we do need another creative midfielder, Rabiot is being mentioned yet again, whom I feel would be a much better acquisition than Berkley. But at the moment, whilst we wait for those on the injury list to recover, Rose, Lamela, N'Kodou and Wanyama we need to utilise the players we have available and play to their strengths. Would be nice to see Marcus Edwards to get a shout as well, just ten minutes or so to see what he can contribute would be fantastic.
    But overall we have to trust in Poch and keep the faith, we will get there, but it has to be this season, or we may lose a few come next summer.

  5. I left a similar comment on this or another site soon after the game. Poch I think is aware we lack this type of player hence he pursued Barkley. Eriksen has more vision than Barkley but Barkley can beat his man an by doing so pull a well drilled defence out of position creating space for others in congested areas. if you're going to win titles/trophies you have to have a mercurial x factor player like Hazard or Sanchez plus a goalscorer of course, which we have. Would Leicester have won the Prem without Mahrez? I doubt it. Agree with guy above Winks needs more game time. Fantastic prospect. He is brave in his passing. ie looks forward whereas others prefer safe option going side/back.

  6. It’s not rocket science! We need a winger. You know, beats his man and then stands a cross up to the far post where the big centre forward out-jumps the defence and heads home. Tried and tested. Except it is a bit rich for Levy (and Lewis). Too expensive for the tight wads. And the manager has played along with this. Been a yes man. We arsed about buying defenders in the summer transfer window when players to enact a full plan B were necessary (we bought half of the plan in the shape of Llorente though!).

  7. i'm glad someone came up with this, i hope spurs officials visit his sites regularly so that they understand what we mean. Poch is a fantastic manager no doubts, but he sticks to his strategy over and over. why didnt we play like we did against dortmund? with little possession and finding the right time to strike? because the players became too comfortable, therefore too predictable, with a tight defense as that of swansea, u should try to bring them out, by letting them get the ball more often, move forward ,we get and counter attack as we did with dortmund . we need to change our strategy as perhaps to the opponents strategy.

  8. Recently I read a commentator who made what I believe is a very valid suggestion. He said that until Spurs win the first few home games at Wembley, and get rid of the curse nonsense, Poch should forget giving all players time and play hos number one top team. I agree! we would have won the two home games we should have won. Once this has been accomplished by all means change the players around. And I must say, every time I see Sissoko in the team I shudder!


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