No win in three in the league. All eyes on Harry and his selection. All eyes on our erratic Lilywhite troops. Get it wrong and we might find ourselves below mid-table. Get it right and it's one step back onto the path we want to be swaggering down. More like John Travolta. Less like Charlie Chaplin. And definitely no Harold Lloyd hanging off the hands of a clock high above.
The tag, THE BIGGEST GAME IN OUR HISTORY EVER, is one I've used in jest many times over recent years for games that on paper are hardly glamorous but the result (in our favour) nothing less than imperative. Historically, if my memory serves me correctly, we've turned up every time (apart from once, possibly twice). This is not quite 2points8games territory. But because of the nature of our lack of sustained domestic consistency and end product, we are now 90 minutes away from what I would constitute a crisis.
A crisis of faith.
Now hold on a second, I hear you shout out in anger, calling me a hypocrite and contradictor. You keep banging on about how we're going to finish fourth again. And yes, I still believe that. Devils advocate hat is firmly on head.
Losing one game doesn’t automatically write off our season. But when that one game is the third on the trot and is number five overall (theoretically) then you would have reason to question my optimism. I'd begin to question it. Self-doubt would slowly creep back into my clouded thoughts.
Momentum takes you upwards on the back of confidence and belief and just stuff clicking into place naturally and instinctively when you win games. Where is the momentum going to come from? Are we waiting to sign said momentum in the January transfer window? Are we really struggling that much for some oomph? Or is all this yet another throw-away episode in the dramatic life of being a Tottenham fan, all a bit exaggerated and over the top, what with everyone around us being just as erratic. That and the frustrating fact that we all know what we are truly capable of when we do wish to turn up (Spurs 3 Inter 1). For me that's the new improved Spurs. What we appear to be watching sporadically in the league games is a window to the past. The version we need to brush off once and for all. Box it up, stick it in the loft.
So when are we going to step up?
I'll make some suggestions. Three simple suggestions.
Scum, the swamp.
Three games. Nine points.
There's this fallacy that Harry only works best when he's fixing a problem someone else has left behind. Hence the sterling recovery from the Ramos debacle. However, a debacle that many believed was always recoverable passed on the fact we always had the players, we just didn't have someone to instil the required desire and effort. Harry did just that. Got them organised. Wasn't the miracle everyone tagged it with, however what he then achieved was near enough one considering the money and managers we have thrown at attempting to progress. Down to bare bones, but even if Harry used that as a ready made excuse, the players didn't even acknowledge it. Superb man management, no?
He deserves the credit even if he makes the most of it with his self-hype. And in lapses of support where some have questioned his tactical astuteness, he has time and time again proved he can win games and adapt strategically. Perhaps the learning curve is one that takes slightly longer than other 'world class' managers. And sometimes we are left wondering why the team isn’t quite sharp enough or motivated. He's not perfect but he's not stupid either. I promise.
There's no room for complacency. Or are we back to arguing over prioritisation of challenges (with CL winning it seems)?
The point here is that what with the vdV and 451 conundrum and the various key injuries, rather than attempt to be overly clever or experimental we need to reclaim some of the back to basics fighting spirit. Backs up against the wall mentality. Harry keeps citing the importance of fourth spot. I'd like to refer you to the evidence. It's somewhere here, give me a second. Nope, can't quite find it.
Harry has to get everyone on it, eye of the tiger. We are not bare bones, so it shouldn't be that tricky to achieve. Right?
If we are genuinely lacking in depth in terms of fluidity when having to replace first team players with 'reserves' and if this is suddenly a problem when it wasn't so much one last season or the season before after Harry took over - then batten down the hatches. Either the players struggle to perform having been benched for a while or their personal motivation isn't at a decent enough standard to replace missing stars. January is still (just under) two months away. We can't postpone the games and play them after we sign a forward.
What to do? Run around a lot and kick it in the net. Win, any which way, but if I'm going to be picky, win with style and get the momentum going. No more half-baked attempts at 'getting stuck in'. I know what you're thinking, 'how can we boss games if we lack the rhythm when missing players?'. Fact is, we've had something missing even when we've had the players available.
It's probably more a question of commitment and intensity. A lack of. It's not the biggest game in our history ever. But it's important in terms of changing direction. Crisis? Don't be silly. But if we wish to aim high, then drawing a game should be labelled a crisis. Defeat - a disaster.
Two home games, nothing less than six points. Am I asking for the moon on a stick? No, no I'm not. I'm asking for our players to show their true colours. Brilliant white. Not p*ss stained yellow.
I want two solid, focused performances before the away trip to The Stench. How we manage to beat Sunderland and Blackburn with the obvious to all redundant no cutting edge inept strike force (lol), well, that's not down to me. My job is to scream and shout till my lungs burst. Harry's job is to do the same pre-match in the dressing room, on the touchline during and…just plenty of hugs and congrats at the final whistle.
We need to be complete in terms of intent, all the possession in the world counts for nowt if we don't stick those chances away.
COYS with pomp and gritted teeth. And a little prayer. With or without Rafael. Pressure is on.