Considering it was only 90 minutes + glorious injury time and we had a man sent off (which changed the dynamics of the game - it actually improved our performance), what else did we learn after our 1-0 steal at Upton Park?
Mauricio Pochettino revealed that Eric Dier was signed by the club and then brilliantly stated 'I'm the head coach, no?' to certify he has a say in transfers. A case of fitting the clubs ethos (buy young and cheap, turn them into superstars and sell for plentiful profit). Pochettino isn't going to reject the task of nurturing such potential talent. Dier looks a prospect. Well scouted by all involved. However, in amongst the broken English and translations you'd hazard a fairly certifiable guess that this was a player Levy and Franco Baldini suggest to Pochettino much like he's almost certainly requested Morgan Schneiderlin and Mateo Musacchio (both looking unlikely).
'Bentaleb and Capoue'
The midfield two were solid, both industrious and focused but equally composed in their responsibilities. Etienne Capoue might finally attain the consistency we've wanted to see from him with Sandro fighting to be fit again. As for Nabil, as previously citied, he'll blossom this season because positionally there will be tenfold more discipline injected into the side and he's already looking confident in the middle, with time and space to stroke the ball on. Credit to Tim Sherwood for throwing him in but there was little astuteness and development. Thankfully has mature mental fortitude and his passing continues to impress.
What is important at the moment is to not look out for anything spectacular. I said they were both solid and that will be enough to rebuild the cracked foundations of our midfield. Whereas throughout last season we had no true understanding of balance, both Capoue and Bentaleb might not stand out compared to more traditional choices but together might forge a partnership that others will have to match.
Can't emphasis more that if both clean up and play the ball to more creative players, we'll have a hub of assurance that the team's centre isn't soft.
He needs to play central. Yes, he proved last season he was effective from the left hand side but there isn't the same impetus for him so far under Pochettino to stand out from the pack. We'll have to be patient for this particular evolution. He doesn't yet look comfortable in the new system. Can he adapt? He must otherwise it's a waste for all involved. He can influence games - to do that he needs time on the ball. There has to be a far clearer connection with the fluidity of the team and the movement of his team-mates. A centre-point, a creative nucleus. Against West Ham, let's not discount we went down to 10 men and the more creative players in the side lost the freedom to craft. Are we not using him effectively or do we shut up and wait for 10 games to pass before we start to ask questions about the formation and the player?
Erik Lamela has a big season ahead of him. At the moment there's more effort than there is composure. During pre-season he looked bright, especially with Roberto Soldado. A case of footballers playing off each other. You might lambaste those that cite Soldado's touch and pass, but it helps with in-game momentum, creating space and chances. If you're on the same wave length it helps massively. Equally so, if a player *is* quality then you expect him to find a place in the side regardless. His breakthrough form will come first at the Lane. He didn't grow in confidence last season because there was no opportunity to do so. With each passing game, a little more evidence he'll achieve it this time round will help those that don't like to be kept waiting.
On the subject of Lamela, is it now a 'thing' to decide that any player that is deemed popular with a majority should not warrant the positive attention and be categorised as likely to fail or not worthy of support because displaying faith for that player in the Spurs shirt is somehow flaky and happy clappy? Yes, it's a thing. It's a tough crowd to please.
Our tempo was sluggish in the early exchanges and it didn't improve until the red card when we were forced to re-organise with containing West Ham's (thankfully) limp attacks (more off target than on). Was it a slow start because it was the first game? Yes, yes it was. How's that for insight. Next stop Match of the Day. Momentum will be key as well as returning players to add more structure to our spin. The positive is, we didn't capitulate after the red card and held strong. Team spirit is evident. Until we see our next 2/3 performances (possibly with rotation before Poch settles for a consistent league side) we'll have to hope the West Ham game as a case of a very constrained script where the actors we're not permitted to improvise. Curb your enthusiasm for next time.
'Andros > Lennon'
An excellent appearance by Andros Townsend. An impact sub that it influenced proceedings. Direct, found space but was also decisive in choice rather than his more cavalier naive style of last season which had him running forward, head down, already knowing he'll be blasting the ball towards goal. 'Did more with than Lennon did all game', said just about everyone. Linked with a move to Southampton. Not Lennon, Townsend. I'm guessing this might be part of the transfer kidology with Morgan Schneiderlin still prominent in the minds of those at Spurs.
A lovely assist. We have a trio of kids (along with Andros and Nabil) that might not be guaranteed first teamers for most but genuinely give the more experienced in the squad food for thought as Spurs attempt to work out the final details of the summer transfer window and the countdown to the next one.
We need to sell players for squad trimming purposes but we are desperate for some quality in other positions to cement Pochettino's presence but to also add depth. Centre-back, left-midfield and the attack all could do with an injection to elevate us from another erratic transitional period to being competitive in all competitions. Tick, tock, how likely are any of those positions to be filled?