'We made hard work of it'
'We struggled upfront'
'Boro should have scored'
Spurs lose with a 1-0 win.
The generation of entitlement continues to fester like a social disease, eating away at my digital timeline. How dare Boro turn up and play with narrow annoyance, sit deep, soaking it up and allowing congestion to aid their defence and frustrate our ability to create space to attack. Sure, it wasn't exciting. That's mostly down to no early goal and the ongoing problems we have with our front-line. The positive type of problems, you know the ones where eradicating them would have us sat facing a gap less than three points rather than nine. It's a minor slump of offensive aggression that we're suffering through. The type where we still end up the closest to the runaway leaders. Rocket science 101.
Even with no goals from open play and several opportunities missed, we still found a way to claim all points on offer. We're a side that hasn't lost at home, continuously facing teams looking to survive long enough to sucker-punch. Only two failures (draws) all season at the Lane. It's the points shared away from N17 that need turning into victories.
The opposition are hardly going to let us play our football. Sometimes, you start in the type of tempo that allows you to steamroll the opposition. We sort of had that at the Lane on Saturday evening but there was no cutting edge which meant no end product. Away from home, we still get to play our type of football which is paradoxical because we don't always take advantage of the home teams welcoming acceptance of open space. If we play under par, we don't win but we don't lose. If we play well, we win. We lose rarely. Twice this season in the league.
Fine tune our final third execution and we'll claim three points with considerable comfort at home and win those all important difference makers on our travels. Before anyone else screams something about the other billion dollar clubs getting their act together, don't. I keep hearing this fear-mongering and yet we keep going, regardless of their efforts. We refuse to not to be involved.
I have no issue with criticising selection decisions, lack of substitutions, transfer acquisitions and everything else we like to shout about as fans. It's our bread and butter. Regular readers will know I love to dig at the ones that do most of the irrational hating. The hating tends to consume those that don't flirt with optimism. The types that only want to concern themselves with the worst possible outcome. That at no point can you allow Tottenham - the whole reason we belong to football - to be this empowering pinnacle of belonging. It's nothing to do with delusion, belonging. Fans are not stupid, we know when we have a team worthy of challenging and making us proud. We know for most of our (modern) lives when we haven't had this privilege.
This is the best squad of players we've had in a lifetime.
What else we got?
We have a manager that makes you feel proud. Mauricio puts Spurs first, no unnecessary hype or soundbites of the ego. We've got a new stadium being built brick by brick next to the Lane (was never gonna happen the haters claimed). The sense of anticipation is nigh epic.
But oh lordy, we beat Boro 1-0 and almost conceded late in the game so it's practically a disgrace that Chelsea will win the league with their strongest eleven selected every week and no European commitments to slow them down. Shame on us for not being within touching distance. Shame on all the injuries to key players we've had through-out the season. The slow start we suffered with suspensions including physical and mental scars from the summer and season before. 'Footballers are humans' breaking news shocker for you there. Shame on us for attempting to mature through top tier stress and constant win expectancy with accompanying hellish fixture headaches.
Spurs man up, they always man up. 'Spursy' has gone back to it's origins of meaning pure swagger rather than calamity. They don't complain or display apologetic characteristics. What an absolute gem of a personality trait we have running through the entirety of the club. Apart from some sections of the fanbase that still wish to self-loathe and suck away all the joy.
These aren't even excuses or fluffy misdirects. No distortion of narrative based on soap box heckling and click-bait attention seeking. It's reality. It's harsh, it can be brutal but it's utterly mesmerising to be part of this journey. Watching our players, huge b*llocks and all, fight for the shirt. I know we're a fragile lot (the supporters), we've been hurt so many times. We have trust issues (some literally have THST issues). Many have been lost to self-deprecation, not being able to distinguish when to use it for reasons of comedy and instead delivering it when critiquing with straight-laced tone.
Still, it would be nice if we matched the players unrelenting tenacity instead of getting bogged down with point scoring. But, you know, bread and butter.
Danny Rose (knowing our luck) might not play again this season which places the three at the back with two flying wing-backs at risk. Shame on us for not having world class players on the bench. Just one £30M midfielder with no understandable role and another £18M striker that has lived one of the best (meaning worst) stop-start seasons I've witnessed. It's not perfect right? Of course not. Fans that care more about their club - rather than their own opinion and association with being right - can acknowledge that. We need to fix up, look sharp.
With our substitutions we need the type of quality that allows us to influence games, especially the ones that aren't going our way. Depth is key. Whether this remains a Daniel Levy problem or we simply haven't quite got our scouting right, it's something that needs sorting. A new head of recruitment has been appointed (a replacement for Paul Mitchell), so here's hoping we can find another Luka in-amongst the young 'potentials'. We're never going to have the bench a Chelsea have. Not until post-new stadium.
Ah, f*cksticks, this was meant to be a write up of the game but I've gone full chimp with machine gun again. I'm not going to lie, I shouldn't validate the opinions of the extremists. The verbal terrorists. The Idiocy State. Imagine being an atheist or agnostic in a religion (football) where there is tangible evidence that a God (THFC) exists.
I'm not being condescending, I promise. In the rant above I'm only digging at those that refuse to give any other perspective the credence it deserves. Which begs the question, why do I bother this indirect war against people that are basically a complete irrelevance? I guess everyone needs a nemesis even if they're made of glass. I'm Bruce Willis staring down Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable.
Poch, Kane and co are not subjecting us to criminal neglect. No matter what the lunatics with the pitchforks and torches are telling you.
Anyways, this issue we have with the forward unit.
I've often cited the need for a talisman. I've often knowingly contradicted myself by saying we have those types of players, or rather have players that can produce that extra yard or touch needed to break through. Where the crux of this puzzle resides is within the heart of our tactics. We seek to dictate the tempo and align it to our comfort. This usually means we slow the pace down and then build from the back or alternatively quickly counter. There is no traditional spearhead of pace. Which might be a very traditional method of aiding with goal-scoring, but sometimes simplicity works wonders.
Our football is disciplined, it's methodical without being bland and can be positively explosive. I guess it's 'boring' when we create chances and don't bury teams. You can argue it's completely reliant on one particular style (that slow-brooding build up play). Still, when Walker and Rose are buccaneering down the flanks the issue of pace tends to be quickly forgotten. When players are all on point, few can live with the swarming pressure we inflict. And that's the essence of this side. Full strength, full pelt; the best in the country. One or two cogs missing or our of place and we suffer enough for it to break our flow.
There was intent in the game even if it felt like we shifted through routines of what forward passages of play are meant to look like. Players moving into expected positions, waiting for a cross or pass. Again, to repeat the obvious, we should have scored from open play long before the Kane pen was perfectly slotted away. Son failing to pull the trigger with tidy precision, a common chin-scratch. Had that happened we'd be discussing our professional clinicality against a stubborn drilled side. Can't win even when we win.
It's up to Pochettino to work out how to give us that extra dimension. Still, no point in over-reacting, right? It was a solid performance. The scares at the end only materialising thanks to our lack of ingenuity. 'Make it count' is the tagline. Score early when the pressure is peak and all the tactical headbanging can be ignored. What we desire, that something extra, it's the aforementioned difference maker that would have us sat within a whisker of the top spot. Read the last blog for more on the imperfections.
A couple of things I wanted to mention:
Mousa and Victor. All conquering tanks of mass destruction, owning their territory and invading the enemies. Such a strong midfield platform to allow others to flourish around them. I'm not the only one to consider if it's potentially stagnating Eric Dier's central development. Dier, to his credit, is completing a selfless job for the team. A sacrifice that might pose future questions. He was superb last season alongside Dembele. You can't argue against the form of Wanyama. At least we have rotational options, but Eric might want a clearer identity in the seasons to come.
Christian Eriksen's corner. Take a bow son.
Onto the next one.
Which is not too dissimilar to the Man City away game. Liverpool are in dire form. Cue a rebirth at Anfield where their football clicks back into place and pundits drown in their own juices at Klopp's sideline antics. Would just be our luck that we go up there and come back with something less than a win. Well, if you want to believe the doom merchants, we're in dire form to - so maybe we'll hit our stride on Merseyside and smash 'em.
Football, love it. Football, loves to hate us.
Mostly love it.
These are truly outstanding times. Live every moment otherwise you're wasting your f*cking time.