Confusion of Tongues
via Club Metro
Whatever happened to our pressing game? This is a question I've seen asked a fair few times in recent weeks. It all links up with all the debates over Mauricio Pochettino's struggle to personify the philosophy he keeps referring to in press conferences. We all knew what to expect in terms of style from Poch when he arrived from Southampton. Tempo driven pressing, quick intelligent passing, the ball constantly moving. No slow brooding sideways possession play.
We've had cameos of the pressing. We've had pockets of intensity and urgency. We have looked better going forward, but still at times pedestrian with pace. It's been a mish-mash rather than a certifiable blue-print.
So thanks to the inconsistency, we've had the usual petulant reaction that has seen both fans and pundits question whether Spurs are heading in the right direction or not. For a club where we criticise our chairman for chopping and changing coaches too often it seems some think the way to fix a problem is to follow a similar strategy of removal and replacement rather than actually waiting and backing coach and players to find that missing rhythm.
Now here's where it gets a little messy. Poch might be attempting to implement ideas and the type of structure that the majority of our players are not comfortable with. They might not be comfortable because they're either not good enough or just can't muster the focus to follow the instructions given.
Now if it's not working because the players don't fit the system, then the coach has to sacrifice some of that philosophy and style in order to get the team playing well and regain lost confidence. Here is where it gets muddled because on the one hand we need that confidence to generate momentum and on the other we also want to see something more than the simplistic virtues of say a Tim Sherwood 'back to basics' work ethic.
Sherwood recovered Spurs and got us playing with better forward intent, although it was never tactically astute - as proven against better, stronger more organised teams. Poch appears to be stuck in the middle of trying to manage an inherited squad of disjointed players. Good players, but ones that don't quite work with fluidity as a single unit. That's on one side, on the other is his long term objectives.
This is why patience (a rude word in modern football for both supporters and boardrooms) has to be allowed. What's the alternative? Chop and change again? Would a new manager be able to offer something fresh with the same players the current one has? Poch needs to inject his own signings across the entirety of the first eleven and get rid of those that are not strong enough in ability for his style.
If we want an identity, we need to appreciate the time it takes to flourish.
Alternatively, you can hire someone that will give us an immediate uptake in form, a grandeur back to basics impact, which ultimately won't last as long but might provide for the instant gratification people crave.
What do you want? A quick fix or a long term solution?
What we need is something in the middle.