First up the game, versus Fulham.
In the second half against Man Utd last weekend we did everything but score. We deserved to win and ended up with nothing. Margins. Against Fulham, well, let’s be honest…it wasn’t pretty. Football doesn’t always play by the script. There’s more improvisation than an episode of Curb your Enthusiasm. I won’t lie, I was bemoaning the dysfunctional swagger with a smile on my face. It’s sort of typical right? Favourites to claim all the points and yet grinding out the draw for the single one. But there is nothing typical about Spurs. Just when we thought the game was done, up popped Harry Winks to head home. Scenes, limbs, and three points.
Poch cited the mystical powers of belief. Which are undeniable. You keep going and you just might make something happen. No necessity for a Larry David inspired post-match rant either. The comedy here was in doubting the players. Although I don’t blame anyone for doing so. What with Llorente scoring an OG before Dele equalised and limped off. What with having to rely on the mystics rather than tactics.
To come full circle, isn’t this what we’re meant to do? Churn out results when not collectively on song? Our problem this season has been a failure to turn up against the top sides (defeats to Liverpool, City, Arsenal and Utd; the prominent evidence that we haven’t fully mastered the required sharp edge to slice ‘em up).
The Fulham steal was not a game to remember, aside from the final seconds. I have no clue how we deal with the Chelsea second leg if Alli is missing. I’ll worry about it on the night. For now, we keep ahead of the chasing sides and still look up pretending the two teams there might slip up (which they won’t but why not dream?)
Now for the politics.
Where we are is exactly where we should be based not only on how we approach things but because of the levels opposing clubs function at. The reality is we can’t function at that same level. Or can we? Pretty sure we can’t. I mean, let’s think about it. What type of players could we sign to cover Kane, Dele and Son? I’m certain we couldn’t sign players of the same quality. Even if we could sign one, would they want to be second choice? The wage structure means there is no comfort zone for world class players to sit and watch from the bench. And as for ‘having more depth’ and ‘rotation’, let’s not try to pretend that said theoretical world class signings would be content with domestic cup appearances and low key league games, because Kane and co are hardly likely to sit out the big games. Which is what big players want. The big games.
However. I’m also not going to pretend that there isn’t non world class players out there that might be able to help us. But this is super subjective. It’s easy to point to other mid-table clubs and suggest we sign X player(s) but the caveat in doing so is that they ‘have potential’ or could possibly ‘create competition’ for places. Sure, I don’t disagree. But that doesn’t equate to the pound for pound replacements for Kane and co that most demand our chairman to sign. So I’m struggling to see how this can resolve things in the manner some are seeking. It helps us in terms of having more options, but it doesn’t necessarily make us better. Let’s face it, the Jan transfer window is probably best approached by ignoring it altogether. New signings can often take a desperately long time to bed in at Spurs.
I’m trying to think pragmatically here. I’m trying to think like Poch who is quite obviously stubborn with how he caters for his philosophy and whatever agreement or ethos him and Daniel Levy have agreed to or accepted. Hence why we end up with fringe-players like Llorente and outcasts like Janssen.
The reality of this is rather simplistic. I’ve stated it already. Where we are is exactly where we should be. We half rely on other clubs dipping in form and for us to persistently and consistently over-achieve. That’s not to underplay our progression. It’s to illustrate that the constraints we choose to shackle ourselves with, as honourable as they are, they are holding us back. That sharp edge if often acquired only with huge sums of money. Spurs have to play out of their skin consistently to match those above us. Any selection deviation away from the very best formation we have will always hurt us.
Breaking free from the shackles means paying the wages Chelsea and City and others do. We’ll have to see if ENIC’s cheese-room profit powers our midfield engine. Until we do that we need to tentatively live on the cusp of glory, with the top top players we have. Spurs, our very best eleven, if fit for 38 games a season - no injuries - well, we wouldn’t be over-achieving. As a team we’ve proven we’re as good as anyone. Statistically, we’ve been outstanding. Where it matters most, the bread and butter of results, is where we’ve come unstuck. Our first eleven, pound for pound, we’d be expected to challenge for the title and possibly win it. But that never happens. It’s impossible to play the same eleven every game, every week. So for all the quality we have, we’re asking for far too many variables outside of the club to go our way. Which means that edge is only attainable if we finally decide to go against our methodology and do what the rest do.
Hopefully I’m making sense.
Talk it out amongst yourselves.