When did Mourinho become our manager?

Image: SpursWeb

It was somehow fitting that in a game against a team where the Special One made his mark in English football, on the eve of a game against the club that just binned him, that Spurs would beat Chelsea in the first leg of the Carabao Cup in a victory that could rightly be called “Mourinho-esque”. I thought Chelsea were the slightly better side in the first half; they were downright dominant throughout the second, and somehow some resolute defending, timely goalkeeping and good old-fashioned luck kept Chelsea from scoring a preserved a 1-0 victory which came, correctly as it were, at the hands of VAR and a subsequent Kane penalty.

The entire second half was a wonderful spectacle in its agonising way—Chelsea with possession, Hazard, Kante, Alonso, Barkley and ultimately Pedro looking to find the opening to a really good chance and the equalizing goal. Spurs resolute in defence—Alderweireld and Sanchez standing strong, Rose dynamic in his ability to burst forward and throttle the visitors’ attacks, Sissoko and others doing just enough to prevent an easy move on Gazzaniga for the goal. It wasn’t pretty—our clearances were largely ineffective, and the few times we did break for a possible clinching goal someone (bad pass or two from Sissoko, Kane going 1 v 4, Son simply without his usual burst) would manage to kill the chance.

And yet we survived. VAR was dead-on accurate as our pretty obvious Route One tactic finally bore fruit as Azpilicueta played Kane onside by about the same distance Liverpool missed a goal by In their tussle with City. Kepa could have seen red, but yellow was fine and Kane was never going to miss. This is the type of game we have rarely won in past seasons under Poch—but which has become increasingly common in this one. In the past, we would have conceded an equalizer and been lucky to escape with a draw. Spursiness again.

This season is different. This team is different. The manager is getting better and better. We all would have wished for a younger Dembele and a healthier Dier or Wanyama—for all of Winks’ skills he got bossed off the ball a couple of times and was having as much trouble with Kante as the rest of the Spurs XI. But we didn’t have them and yet we prevailed. Now on to the “No-Win Derby” against United on a 5 game Ole Gunnar run. Win and Poch must be their new manager. Lose and Spurs slink back again into the pack and Poch must move on to be their new manager. Sometime in the next 20 years, I guess.

All we can do is live and die with the lads on the pitch. Last night was hardly pitch perfect—Chelsea might now rate a slight favourites to win by enough at Stamford Bridge—but think of it this way. If we score one, they must score three. I like THIS TEAM’s chances because they’re different.

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  1. Great article, but for the first time away goals do not count in the semi, so if we score one, they still only have to score two so best not let them #COYS

  2. I have to come back to the Wembley factor again.
    The ground, the pitch …it’s a leveller. Sure we have more fans there, but it’s not our home.
    It’s a wonderful place to see football, and the song ‘Spurs are on their way to Wembley ..’
    will never have the same resonance again, but the ground has cost us (with this fine
    squad) in a way WHL wouldn’t have, over the past 18 months.
    Maybe Wembley has also turned us into ‘away’ specialists too, and it’s why I feel we are
    favourites to go through to, er Wembley, when we meet them at the Bridge.
    They have some great players, Chelsea, and Hazard has to be among the top 3 players
    in the world ..but they don’t always turn up.
    We rode our luck last night, but we also defended tremendously. We did not yield
    which we’ve done too often in the past against ‘onslaughts’, and that’s something to
    be really proud of. Yes, we lost midfield ..but Winks and Sissoko have done tremendously
    well there in the absence of Dier, Dembele et al, while even Eriksen was off.
    Somehow, I know it won’t happen with United’s visit ..and our midfield will once again
    be linking fluently with the defence and attack. We are becoming a top adaptable team,
    whether we have injuries or not, and Poch is proving a very adaptable coach/manager.

  3. I thought both sides defended superbly well. Very little errors and very decisive tackling and passing. Spurs didn’t make the error they made against Wolves, namely not enough players behind the ball, and Dele was outstanding as a defensive midfielder in the latter stages with some brave tackles. Despite Chelsea’s excellent build up play the closest they got was a wicked deflection off Danny Rose. However, they had some decent shots that were well held by Gazzaniga that on another day could have taken a nick on the way and wrong footed him. So on balance, the luck was with us just about on that score. Michael Oliver had a good game overall but missed a bad foul on Son (I think – didn’t see it twice) and Chelsea were lucky that he deemed Lamela to have fouled Christensen – looked a bit soft to me – which would have been a certain goal.

  4. I remember cursing in a game where we dominated, missed a bunch of chances, and then lost the plot, and finally conceded, and dropped points – sounds familiar ? – last year, or was it the year before. Lost count. I remember yelling in the pub, or was it WhatsApp ? – we need to win ugly, like Mourinho, else we will never win consistently enough to win a league. You cannot be joy and sunshine every day. DESK will have the days when it will be locked up and refuse to bring out marvels from the tuck box it holds.
    And the wish came true this year. Not just against Chelsea, though perhaps most dramatically there. We played badly and we won (though if Lamella had scored against City, that would have been the best exposition of the win/draw ugly). I should be happy, shouldn’t I ? But I am not. I want the glory glory game, the game of Spurs, where at their best we are better than the best in the world. Ask Real Madrid with CR7, Juventus without CR7, and Dortmund and ManU and Liverpool and Chelsea and Arsenal from last year. We were there briefly, versus Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and a few other places including in Camp Nou versus Barcelona with a Messi on as impact sub. But not consistently enough. DESK has been great once they have played together, fit and fresh (recovered from WC). Defence is beginning to gel post Alderweireld coming into play (can we please him sign him ?). Problem is in DM – having Wanyama, Dier and above all Dembele out for practically the whole season is too much. We are scoring enough, but we are conceding a few too many.
    Just hope we keep Sen and we get Frankie de Jong or N’Dombele. We are just 2 players short of being champs (maybe a couple more can help as well). I can live with Mourinho lending us a hand on a few days, as long as Poch is in the saddle and the sunshine keeps coming back, hopefully against ManU and Dortmund and Chelsea on the return to start with in Jan


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