Inside the head of Heurelho da Silva Gomes
'Penalty given, no problem I will save it. Come to me ball, I beckon you. Come to me. There we go. Saved. See you later. Job done. Justice. I am a good keeper, I believe in myself. I'm good, I know I am. I saved a penalty. I have no insecurities. I proved it there. In comes the ball again, should I stand my ground or should I attempt to...I wonder if cats dream? And if they did would they dream about eating and sleeping and licking themselves because they hardly do much else in waking life. Oh hold on. What the *** has happened here? It's another penalty. Or is this the penalty from before replayed and if it is why am I in the replay reliving the moment? It makes no sense to me. Has there been a disturbance in the space time continuum? Saved it the first time, I can save it again. I'll dive this way. Okay, then. That was the wrong way. Oh well. There's always next time'.
But I'm only joking. Let's not scapegoat. It's a huddle of hurt where blame needs to be shared by the team and management as one. Although there are pockets of pleasantries (i.e. Modric) that have endeavoured through the lapses of mediocrity. I'm not being overly dramatic here. Don't misunderstand. I'm proud of the way this team has performed over the past couple of season but disheartened that perhaps the reality is we still lack that extra spark and reinforced steel combination. It's not a bad place to be. It's just that the way football evolves from one season to the next, it's easy for a club to lose direction because of what happens at other clubs.
We should have had it wrapped up with ease. The fact we've given it away can't be ignored unless you wish to retain the whimsical comparisons to times when we sat in midtable. Can't be living in the past though, which is how most would counter that.
So, where are we exactly?
We've basically lost a top four place because of the lack of genuine fluidity across our domestic season dropping points like Martin Sheen drops teeth. Beating Blackpool would have got us back into it if anything just to make the last three games exciting, if still quite improbable (based on form). It's no surprise we ballsed it up and ended the dream once and for all. We've been rubbish for weeks.
The result is made worse because of the spirit we displayed this time last season. Euphoria replaced by limp shrugs of despondency. The complete lack of urgency and tempo until AFTER we went 1-0 down and began to play in injury time compounding the lacklustre effort of the full ninety. Not sure why there was such an abyss where desire and belief should have stood proudly.
I guess finishing 4th should not really be deemed a badge of honour anyway. However, finishing in the top four, preferable higher, has to continue to be the clubs ambition. We need to aspire to be the best we can be and if that makes us better than say two of the top four sides, that will be enough to get us into a position to then lay foundations for even bigger challenges. But one step at a time. Levy's prediction about the time share element of the Champions League appears to be coming true. But if he scratched his head hard enough I'm sure he'd agree with the majority that it was there for the THFC brace.
We've underplayed it. What a manager says publicly might not be the same thing he says behind closed doors, but the task of getting back into the CL was hardly a difficult one but yet was treated like one and thus laboured.
So where are we again exactly? On the highway, a few miles from our destination, out of gas. Arguably been running on empty for a while now.
In addition to the definitive disappoint there's also concern for young Bale. You almost understand his reluctance to pick himself up after being fouled in recent games. Goes down to easily, stays down too long. He's only protecting himself, as nobody else appears to be aiding him. Shame on 'he's not that type of player' Charlie Adam who (if you look at the pictures of the tackle or this gif) appears to have snapped Bales ankle in half, but hopefully it looks far worse than it does in image. Nice officiating there too. I guess Adam should have pulled out a semi-automatic rather than waste energy lunging in. Would probably have only got a yellow for firing it at Gareth's legs.
Broken ankle or severe ligament damage at time of writing. Breath of fresh air that, hey Harry? I guess having a go at the opposition isn't deemed too media friendly, might hurt the portfolio. We've always been way too soft in the aftermath of such matters. I'm not saying embrace the some embarrassing traits of a Jose or Fergie, but let's attempt to defend our honour once in a while. Emphasis on protection of all things Tottenham.
Also, nice to see Rose back in the fold. Didn't do too badly. If the season wasn't drawing to a close, we'd probably send him out on loan again. Elsewhere, far too much anonymity. Some controversy over Lennon and the reason(s) why he sat on the bench (poor form or internal disputes?).
In conclusion? Lucky to get the point some might say. I say the draw, on performances, might have been the justified result. The ref was blind and our keeper a loon and our strikers fairly non-existent and our midfield unbalanced but there's no chance of ignoring the fact that this game practically summed up the reason why we're not in the Champions League next season.
No cutting edge, no drive, no focus. Attitude adjustment failure in games we should be bossing. Makes it doubly ironic that we've only lost seven league games this season (so far). The truth festers in the fourteen draws.
We have lost a scandalous amount of points because we've failed to show up and then made hard work of it. We've not improved on last season, we've stagnated. I'm going to have to admit to the fact that it wasn't meant to be and that at some point in the future we'll understand the reasons why. Philosophical musings is all I have left to make this journeys end more comfortable.
A world class forward in January might have made the difference. Personally, thought we still had enough to see ourselves through it. I was wrong. Emphatically wrong. Chairman got it wrong. Manager got it wrong. Some of our players got it wrong.
If you want to be critical and subjective, say if you were a neutral and looked upon Spurs and this season, you might question the fact we have a wealth of talent and we've somehow managed to not find a groove. It's that genuine lack of fluidity again that many have suffered from this season. If you want to be critical you might ask why we went through the motions and failed to take it all by the scruff of the neck. Because out of all the under-achievers, we had the depth to perhaps edge out the competition. Easier said then done and although you might read this article back and think me drowning in negativity - once more, this isn't about pin-pointing scapegoats. Just another gentle nod in the direction of the obvious. It was a collective failure. It's not just up front where we need to improve.
We've not been good enough in key areas in key moments. If you want sustained progression that equates to tangible success you need to hate losing and we have not quite tuned into that frequency yet.
It's still a good thing, a positive thing, to be this club in this position with the squad we have. If you look the past, we are abundantly in better health than we've been for twenty or so years. The problems we have in our workings are ones that if fixed, will propel us upwards once more. The crux is in how chairman and manager go about fixing it. Momentum has not been lost, just misplaced. We need to aim higher and be seen to be aiming higher because the clubs around us will be doing just that.
City are unlikely to waste their opportunity in the CL and will therefore use it as platform to consolidate beyond doubt when alternatively we might have further damaged their project by once more beating them into the top four. That would have allowed us to build on this season without taking a step back. Hope is with the advantage falling into our lap with the single focus of the league whilst they go on their European adventure. Everything is in transition, which is why I will continue to support and believe. It's all I can offer, the rest is out of my hands. Teams around us will get better but so will we.
We've learnt a harsh lesson this term. Don't take anything for granted. Wouldn't hurt to be a ruthless yet glorious basterds once in a while too.