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Sunday, 1 June 2014

Forget Southampton, Pochettino should work with the present Spurs squad

OK, important fact number one: Spurs finished above Southampton last season. Important fact number two: Spurs finished the season stronger than Southampton. But would you believe it, with Spurs repeatedly linked with raids on Southampton's squad?

Now, why was Pochettino recruited and Timmy Sherwood sacked exactly? Presumably because Pochettino is thought to be the better manager and coach. And what do better managers and coaches do? They get more out of the players at their disposal.

OK, so how much did Spurs spend last year? That would be something in the order of £100m. And believe it or not, quality players do not become rubbish players overnight. Bad tactics, bad man management and squad disaffection can trigger underperformance, of course, but a new manager is meant to address that, isn't he?

So, let's look at that bad season. Spurs finished 6th  in the Premier League which, whilst disappointing, hardly constitutes a disastrous year. They finished above Manchester United and, apart from Everton, all the teams that finished above them might, by neutrals be expected to finish above them. In other words, that bad season would be called par on a round of golf.

And now let's look at the backdrop. People keep going on about the money spent, but that takes no account of the debilitating effect of losing Gareth Bale, arguably one of the best five players in the world. Any team would take time to adjust to losing a player of that calibre, a player who won games single handedly in the previous season. Take the games against West Ham. Back in 2012-13, Bale tore us apart in both games. At White Hart Lane he scythed through our midfield and opened up our back four with all the ease of Brad Pitt opening a woman's legs. At Upton Park he scored that wonder goal in the last minute of the match and turned the game in the last twenty minutes. Without Bale, Spurs hammered at the Allardyce defensive wall but could find no way through. So, in two games, you have the Bale effect in a nutshell. Add the six points lost to West Ham and Spurs would have finished on 75 points and in fifth place - which is more points than Bale inspired Spurs finished the previous season with! And in 2012-13, Spurs did not change managers in mid season.

Of course, players need time to settle in to a new club, especially when signed from abroad. Look at Bale himself when he joined Spurs. True he was young, but he didn't make a great impression initially did he?  Liverpool might well have jettisoned Suarez last summer, considering him more trouble than he was worth, and what a mistake that would have been! Spurs bought half a team last summer and somehow expected all the pieces of the jigsaw to fall magically into place immediately. That rarely happens.

Is Soldado a crap player? His record before joining Spurs suggests otherwise. Lamela has looked lost but a good coach should surely be able to get him back to playing to his best. Yes Spurs need to replace Defoe and need a quality left back, but those positions apart, the squad is strong and doesn't need any major overhaul. If AVB and Timmy can get the current mob to sixth place and 69 points, surely it's not asking too much to expect Pochetinno, if he is any good, to add value and turn that 69 points to, say 81. That's four extra victories! Two wins over West Ham and two other inexcusable reverses turned into maximum points. The defeat at Norwich was disgraceful and a victory at Burnley would make up for that; Spurs fans can nominate another game to make up for the other three points, though I would suggest Liverpool and Manchester City are not factored in!

So, if Pochettino is any good, he should be able to qualify for the Champions League without employing a transfer revolving door. Spurs should aim for stability now. Tell the new manager to prove himself worthy of the job by bettering AVB and Timmy. Is that really that big a challenge?



  2. Umm can we add a fast CD who can head, tackle and keep an offside line properly

  3. Need a left back: Shaw
    Poch needs someone he knows to help stamp his presence on the team: Lallana.

    Therefore it would make sense to raid Southampton for two players. There are several players Spurs can sell in exchange to balance the books.

  4. Interesting article and very true. Good players are already at the club. Just need a good manager and system

  5. Reminds me which club Spurs got Bale from....

  6. This is all well said - I will also add that, in a way, Spurs had 9 new players to integrate into the team if you include Rose and Townsend who weren't there the previous year.