What with real life getting in the way, I've not quite done a match report on the Young Boys game and our safe passage through to the CL proper. So, here's some belated bits and pieces and some post-match commentary.
The performance (4-0)
Wasn't vintage Spurs by a long shot but there was no necessity for anything more than what was given. We did enough, and enough was more than enough. We all know that deep down we have a deficiency as fans to think of the worst case scenario. It's a defensive mechanism to aid in appeasing any potential disaster, but it's also something that has engulfed our match-day psyche. Plenty of people thought they might nick an away goal. I thought we might be in for a tough night. In the end, the true difference in class was more than evident. They were hardly the plastic fantastics of the first game.
We might not have been 100mph or swash-buckled our way through them in the pouring rain, but we were professional. Rode our luck (Defoe goal) and just got it done. There were pockets of tension thanks to the sheer importance of getting through, for the first time ever, which meant it was all a bit tense until the fourth goal went in.
Good solid performance. Happy days. Soz to all the trolls. You can now move onto your 'you're gonna get smashed in the group stages' one-liner.
Anyone still got doubts on this one? He was superb. Is superb. We all know he can pass and now we are seeing him take control and dictate. For all his lack of mobility, his intelligent moving (off the ball) makes up for the lack of pace. And he's only a youngster. We have ourselves a giant, one that can sit in the middle of midfield and ping balls out to the wings without even having to look up, retaining possession when required (although he has to be careful with spending too much time caressing the ball). His technique is sublime and there is evidence that although his weakness with defensive duties has been a bugbear in the past, he's displaying far more composure and positional awareness. Which can only help the team when under pressure. European football will suit him just dandy.
I love this guy. He's not perfect. The way he flirts with the offside trap does my head in, but he's a pure finisher. What he has to add to his game (which is going to be difficult considering how instinctive he is) can be illustrated by what should have been the 3rd goal. He missed the target when it was easier to lay the ball off to Crouch or Palacios. Against top drawer opposition, we might not get an abundance of chances. So cool head please Jermain.
I heart you Gareth. You, your barnet, your marauding runs down the wing. Your confidence and belief that you can beat a man. Your class technique and touch, the way you smash past the opposition. And the fact that you can have a fairly average quiet game in terms of lacking beastly front-line destruction, but still get four assists. Bale v Maicon? I'm positively drooling.
Our current much maligned forward, because he's not prolific. Not sure why there's persistent stories linking him with moves to Stoke and Everton when Peter appears to be that awkward styled option that will cause one or two defensive problems for our CL opposition. He's going to score a few for us in Europe. Harry loves him. I can't see him leaving.
A&E. Not actually heard anyone call him this at Tottenham or anywhere else other than in the comments section of this blog and on one or two other blogs. He's meant to be reckless. A bit maverick with his positioning. And yet, all I see is continued improvement. He's got a bite about his play. We don't need to fret about this position.
Hasn't regained his form, has games where he's on top of it and then several games where there is a distinct lack of concentration. Not sure what the answer is here. Sandro will gradually be introduced and there are whispers (as ever) of potentially signing another midfield for further depth for the games ahead. Wilson might end up being marginalised because of the competition, and his confidence continue to degrade. Harry needs to hug him harder. To me, he still looks like he's hurting, and to be honest, I don't blame him. But if he's detrimental to the side, then we've got to make the sacrifice and get him fixed up. On form, he's a revelation for us. At the moment, he's a risk.
Nutter. I know he was probably genuinely injured the other night (pulled out of the Brazil squad), but f**king 'ell, how soft is he? I was actually pleasantly surprised he didn't start crying when Harry waved him to stay on the pitch. Looked like Harry was more annoyed than anything.
The Champions League Draw
Inter Milan, Werder Bremen, Tottenham, FC Twente.
Happy? Can't say there's an easy group at this stage. I mean come on, this is the premier competition in world club football. And what's the point in wanting to avoid certain teams? Arguably, its not a sexy group we could have got. It's not quite as glamorous as facing the White Storm or Barca and you could also argue that as a spectacle, playing Inter might be a touch overly defensive (on their part) but, who cares. This is what it's all about. We've got a chance. Can't wait to see how we get on and how Harry intends to compete against Rafa and his inherited champions of Europe.
So, can we now play the kids in the Carling Cup?
Transfer 'targets' and Redknappology
I don't think Harry is about to come out and say who we might be after or how close we are. It's all a bit messy what with him telling us we need 3 players to challenge (a few weeks back) to now saying we don't need to improve the squad. It's all part of the game, but its one of many contradictions. But what does it matter, as the stories that get printed never seem to refer back to any original statements any ways, so with every day, it's something new when in fact its something old and re-churned.
Of course we want to improve the squad. Consolidation is now imperative. Just no need for any massive massive changes. Two new arrivals is more than likely. I've got my fingers crossed for a major signing 'upfront' which will also involve the departure of Robbie Keane. Quite an obvious prediction there, but its one that sits well with me at the moment.
The 4-0 win was Harry's 50th with Spurs, 96 matches into his THFC tenure.
P96 W50 - D21 - L25 - F163 - A103
Winning Percentage: 52% Overall Record: 63.02%