Toon at Two (oh five)

After a shoddy opening half hour where our back-line looked like the only three defenders Mourinho hasn’t fallen out with yet plus Davison Sanchez, I thought that was a good performance against Villa last time out.

As the team’s confidence grew, the eleven on the pitch certainly gelled much better than I’d have expected with a midfield consisting of Hojbjerg plus three players in Lucas, Ndombele and Lo Celso who don’t really seem to have a defined position for us as yet.

I’m far from convinced by Lo Celso being asked to play a sort of inverted right-wing role, but Lucas, once more, was exceptional, and Neville can call Kane cute all he wants, but if a defender shields the ball out for a goal-kick and the attacker jumps in at him two-footed as the ball runs out of play, it usually results in a free-kick.

What was most pleasing about going the second goal up was it didn’t seem to alter our front-foot approach, and neither did the introduction of Davies on 57 minutes – after Reguilon had been hacked off the pitch following a series of challenges which I don’t think even earned us a single free-kick – or Bergwijn and then Sissoko.

What was most worrying about going the second goal up was the sense Bale and Dele were only on the bench so Mourinho could sub Bergwijn and then Sissoko on ahead of them: Message sent, end of the line for their time at Tottenham, or am I reading too much into it? It will be almost as interesting to see the line-up and bench Mourinho goes with today as it will be to see who wins the traditional Easter Sunday Post The Team First Race between SSG and Nutty: As it’s an earlier kick-off, my money’s on 61.

The reverse of today’s fixture back in match-week 3 would almost certainly have been a well earned 1-0 win had it taken place in match-week 30, the interpretation of Law 12 around what constitutes hand-ball seemingly being softened soon after we’d been robbed of two points: In a game that’s since been used to strengthen the narrative that Mourinho’s Spurs always fall back and play negative football once they’ve got a 1-0 lead to protect, our 25th minute goal didn’t stop us having a further eighteen shots – two of which thumped back off the woodwork – as we racked up 65.8% possession and should really have been out of sight long before Andy Carroll headed the ball at Eric Dier in the 97th minute.

It was such a ridiculous decision, I couldn’t even be bothered to be annoyed at the time, but as it’s shaping up to be one of those seasons where the margin between coming fourth as London’s top team or sixth as also-ran losers behind Chelsea and West Ham could well be one or two points, I have an ominous feeling in the pit of my stomach akin to eating dodgy lasagna.

Though maybe that’s just the lingering memory of the performances against Arsenal and Zagreb, or the deja-vu dread that we’ll do what we so often do against a team like Newcastle today when a win would really apply pressure to the other teams in the race for that final Champions League place: I still get the shivering shudders every time I think back to our last defeat at St James’ Park which allowed Arsenal to enjoy their last ever St Thingummyjig Day on the last day of Leicester’s title winning season.

Since then, we’ve visited three times, and won each one, getting our 17/18 and 18/19 campaigns off to winning starts and then continuing our strong end to the season with a 1-3 win last July, none-season wonder Harry Kane getting lucky in front of goal for the 200th time at club level.

Further back in the sands of time, Newcastle were lucky enough to witness Teddy Sheringham scoring the first ever Premier League goal at St James’ Park. Hopefully the margin will be greater today, but I’d take 0-1 again if we have to.

Warning: Footage may contain a nut of the Goon Tree lolloping around in central defence.

Come on you Spurs!

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SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

Mourinho’s tactics look like they’re designed to absolve him of blame and put pressure on Tottenham players

Many years ago, there was a lively post-match debate on Sky Sports between Graeme Souness and Gordon Strachan.

The subject was the optimum way to defend corners, because the two Scots had just watched a team using zonal marking concede from a set piece.

Strachan was a proponent of defending zonally at corners, pointing to statistics about its increased effectiveness and explaining that it prevented attacking block-offs. Souness insisted that man-marking was a better approach. His main point, which he repeated on multiple occasions, was that “zonal marking lets players off the hook”.

Souness, whether or not he realised it, was effectively saying that his tactical preference stemmed from wanting to pin the blame for conceding on a player. If a zonal marking approach fails, the system — and therefore the manager who implements it — is considered culpable. But in a man-marking system, if someone gets outjumped by an opponent, you can point the finger directly at them.

And therefore what appeared a tactical debate was, in actual fact, nothing of the sort. It was really a debate about man-management, about the relationship between players and their boss, about the extent to which a manager must carry the can for their failings on the pitch. Strachan focused upon which was best for the team. Souness was about which was best for him.

This decade-old debate came to mind this week, in light of Jose Mourinho’s reaction to Tottenham Hotspur drawing at Newcastle United from 2-1 up with six minutes left, while permitting their highest single-game xG figure of the Premier League season so far. BBC reporter Juliette Ferrington asked Mourinho why his side keep on relinquishing leads, whereas previously his sides were renowned for hanging onto them. “Same coach, different players,” Mourinho responded.

Not for the first time, a revealing answer stemmed from a question framed in light of his previous successes — Mourinho has a habit of giving more detailed answers to questions that begin with things like “Jose, as someone who has won it all…”

It would be quite possible, though, for his players to respond in kind.
To varying extents, the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez have previously played in a stern Spurs defence under Mauricio Pochettino. That was an entirely different style of defending, based around pressure in advanced positions and a high line.

When that defensive approach got breached, we tended to talk about the high line rather than the individuals.

It’s the same, for example, for Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich, who used an extraordinarily high line en route to European Cup success last year. It was impossible to watch them defend against Barcelona in the last eight or final opponents Paris Saint-Germain without almost jumping out of your seat, such was the bravery of their high line. Had they conceded to PSG from a through-ball and a run in behind, Flick would have been blamed. But he would probably have accepted responsibility, for he knows that a high-risk, high-reward strategy is best for his side.

Mourinho once used that approach. Watch his triumphant Porto side throughout the Champions League knockout phase in 2003-04 and you’ll be surprised by how high his defence position themselves. These days, his defences sit deeper, dropping back to their own penalty box quickly, particularly if Tottenham have gone ahead. On multiple occasions this season, that approach has cost them. While Mourinho would explain it forms part of his attacking strategy, attempting to draw the opposition forward and give Spurs space to counter-attack into, rarely have his side constructed regular breaks to justify their deep positioning.

The thing with defending deep is that you’re asking your defenders to do more traditional defensive tasks. There are more aerial challenges inside your box, more situations where you have to stick tight to a player who is in a goalscoring position, more danger to anticipate and more blocks to be made. It also means that it’s more possible to concede goals that are not, in isolation, attributable to managerial strategy.

When Tottenham lost 2-1 away to Liverpool in December, for example, the goals came from a crazy deflection, and then a late set-piece concession (from, of course, man-to-man marking).

The first goal was unfortunate, but if you allow the opposition 76 per cent of the possession and 17 shots to your eight, there’s more chance of one finding its way into the net almost accidentally. Similarly, if you allow that much pressure, you concede more corners than you win (seven to four in this case), and there’s more chance of one leading to a goal. These things add up over time.

It is sometimes said that Mourinho is antiquated tactically; that his inability to win trophies recently is because he hasn’t adjusted strategically. There’s clearly an element of truth to that, in comparison to Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, but his primary problem is surely his inability to command the respect of players over a sustained period of time, evidenced by sudden drop-offs in his pre-Tottenham stints with Chelsea and Manchester United.
It came as little surprise that, after Mourinho responded to Sunday’s 2-2 on Tyneside by blaming his players, some of them objected. It’s difficult to imagine many other current managers responding similarly.

But that’s logical if Mourinho’s tactical approach is also out of step with that of his contemporaries. The tactical development of football, particularly over the last couple of decades, is about universality, about particular tasks being done collectively. Modern sides press aggressively from the front and play out from the back, meaning defensive play starts with your attackers and attacking play starts in defence. Every concept is a task for the entire side.

Mourinho’s approach is more old-school. He works less than other contemporary managers on prepared attacking possession routines, preferring to allow playmakers to find solutions themselves. In a world of false nines, Mourinho has always liked true strikers such as Didier Drogba, Diego Milito and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He also likes proper defenders that belong in their own box: John Terry, Lucio, Ricardo Carvalho.

With that approach, it’s more viable to pin the blame on somebody when things go wrong. If a goal is conceded, a defender is more obviously at fault than the system. And this comes back to that Strachan-Souness debate, which demonstrated that tactical decision-making and man-management are not entirely separate concepts.

Mourinho’s reputation has never been lower, which is why he is determined to shift culpability onto his players and protect himself.

It’s entirely possible that his tactical decision-making is also geared towards absolving himself of blame.

Now, he’s fighting to prove he deserves to be in charge of Tottenham, rather than in his previous role: in a Sky Sports studio, nodding along with Souness.

mystic arnold
mystic arnold
1 year ago

Just got an email saying we can re-new our season tickets from 12th April .Seams quite early to start the process

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago
Reply to  mystic arnold

I’d struggle to want to pay for a season ticket at the best of times. I really take my hat 🧢 off for those brave enough to want to do it at this time. Shite footy and you might be mingling with people that don’t care if they spread the virus around. Not for me thank you.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

Interesting take in the Athletic. You can tell where it’s going from the title:

Mourinho’s tactics look like they’re designed to absolve him of blame and put pressure on Tottenham players

https://theathletic.com/2501468/2021/04/07/mourinhos-tactics-look-like-theyre-designed-to-absolve-him-of-blame-and-put-pressure-on-tottenham-players/

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago

Need to be a subscriber to read that unfortunately. However I’ve suspected recently that it could be a possibility that he’s preparing the defence of his tenure by starting to point the finger.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

I’ll cut and paste above.

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago

Cheers SSG, nice one.

Chauveljn
1 year ago

Funken, Liam Delap is the name. Just turned eighteen, has 20 goals and 4 assists in 15 U23 matches.

The only snag is he is on City’s books.

Delap plus lots of cash for Kane maybe?

Last edited 1 year ago by Chauveljn
SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago
Reply to  Chauveljn

Is he son of Rory?

Chauveljn
1 year ago

Yes, from what I gather. Born in Hampshire (WasDan’s manor) he could represent England or Ireland.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago

So, what’s todays topic?
Who will Kane’s replacement be???

Chauveljn
1 year ago
Reply to  Funkenschlag!

Young, homegrown, fast, great engine, bags of potential, tough as old boots, winners’ mentality, role model, team player, CHEAP.

Shouldn’t be difficult. 🤔

Chauveljn
1 year ago
Reply to  Chauveljn

There might be a bit of a wait for Louis Harry Kane as he is only 3 months old.

HjD 😷🇺🇸
HjD 😷🇺🇸
1 year ago

I am speculating that speculation abounds spectacularly with regards to JM’s future in Spursland. The Portuguese Plague will be given the season to see if he can get the unmotivated bunch into the top four. If he can, he stays, if not, he goes. The merry-go-round will continue.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

It seems clear Jose’s mission was to sort out the inconsistency, stay in the top four and win something. Hard to see how he can be considered successful without at least two of those metrics.

Paleo
Paleo
1 year ago

How about the great French man Arsen, he’d Come and sort us out

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago

Dortmund get an away goal. Game on!

61 Spurs Njut 🌰
Admin
1 year ago

#StopTheSpitting

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago

#StopThePlayacting

Chauveljn
1 year ago

#StopInTheNameOfLove

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago

Real. 3-1

61 Spurs Njut 🌰
Admin
1 year ago

Fuck football! Just turned on to the RM game only to see Pooh score 😡

61 Spurs Njut 🌰
Admin
1 year ago

Bees helping the bottom feeders week after week 🙄

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

I’d be disappointed if Spurs weren’t using up all my disappointment.

61 Spurs Njut 🌰
Admin
1 year ago

Time for a scotch.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

Oh yes.

Scotchy.jpeg
SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

Liverpool did not attempt a single shot in the first half against Real Madrid.

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago

Real 2-0

DAVID
DAVID
1 year ago

Norwich 5-0 up after 40 minutes.

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago

Real 1 up,looking quite.good.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

Kind of a weird line-up for City. Agüero, Sterling and Jesus all on the bench.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

Working for them, though.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

Wahooo! Got my vax appointment for tomorrow! The J&J single shot.

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago

Nice one SSG, thought you’d already had one?

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

Nope, the state just opened eligibility a bit wider, so I’ve been on the hunt

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago

👍

DAVID
DAVID
1 year ago

Surprised you didn’t choose the dettol shot.

DAVID
DAVID
1 year ago
Reply to  DAVID

Meant for SSG.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago
Reply to  DAVID

A thorough cleaning is needed.

DAVID
DAVID
1 year ago

I chose the UV tube, not been able to sit down since but I’m radiating a beautiful glow.

Chauveljn
1 year ago

Well, the consensus over at Spurs Community is it is just a question of timing before Levy pulls the trigger on Mourinho. When not if. They are discussing best betting odds.

If United thrash us it would give DL the mood music to sack him. And I wouldn’t put it past some of the players to assist that scenario.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chauveljn
SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago
Reply to  Chauveljn

I think so Chauv as well. I can see Mourinho lasting the season but if there’s a certain window to get the new man then that will drive the the timing.

Chauveljn
1 year ago

There are factors outside THFC that might precipitate a change of coach, such as if Levy becomes anxious that another PL club might pounce for Nagglesman first. Such as Arsenil.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

A bettor at Points Bet USA just dropped $200 on Real Madrid to beat Liverpool today by the exact score line of 5-0. If it hits, he’ll walk away with a cool payout of $40,000.

Chauveljn
1 year ago

And under a cloud of suspicion.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

Let’s just look forward to next season when we have a spine of Hart, Tanga, Rodon, Skipp and Parrott.

and 300 mill in the bank.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago

Think I’ll wait for the season after if you don’t mind.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago
Reply to  Funkenschlag!

Spoil Sport!

Chauveljn
1 year ago

And Sessegnon.

Paleo
Paleo
1 year ago

Slightly tetchy,nice

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

Is there any sort of manager Levy hasn’t tried? We’ve had old school, arm round the shoulder types, rigid taskmasters, progressive continentals, won it all (with other teams) guys, and a few others.

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago

You owe it to yourself to admit that there is no one out there that could make us winners, SSG. A combo of Fergy/Pep/Billy Nick couldn’t do it. It’s who we are, doomed until eternity ends.
Anyhoo, onwards and upwards.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago

Do you have a date for the end of eternity, just so I can pop it in the old diary.

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago
Reply to  Funkenschlag!

12th of Never.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago

Ta muchly.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
1 year ago

What about a faith healer?

Chauveljn
1 year ago

Therefore it’s a change of owner required?
Or maybe someone will invest in THFC for a shareholding stake if ENIC won’t sell outright?

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago
Reply to  Chauveljn

You know deep down as well Chauv that if we did have new owners it’d be ISIS…

Chauveljn
1 year ago

The International Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Symmetry?

They might be able to help with tactical formations…. 🤔

61 Spurs Njut 🌰
Admin
1 year ago

Is it August yet?

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago

What happens in August, and is it exciting?

61 Spurs Njut 🌰
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Funkenschlag!

We can shoot the grouse on the 12th. It will be glorious!

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago

If it doesn’t bleed Lily white, or navy blue blood, arm oot!

Bruxie
Bruxie
1 year ago

At the risk of sounding like a Monty Python sketch/scenr…

What has Nagelsman ever achieved apart from being better than a heap of crap German teams?

Dortmund pay agents to get the best kids in…

M’gladbach have to sell because they cannot keep going – I believe they are part owned by the local authority.

Munich are out of sight financially.

Beyer own Leverkeusen.

Etc.

He has achieved bugger all.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruxie

You answer your own question, Bayern are out of sight (one team league), so it’s VERY difficult for any manager other than who’s in the Bayern seat to win anything.
If Levy wants to run the club on a tight budget, then that would seem to rule out some of the more well know managers who achieved success with big budgets and top players, Conte, Allegri et al.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Funkenschlag!

PS, I don’t have a crystal ball, all I am doing is looking at what managerial qualities I feel best suit Spurs. I have no idea (like everyone else) who would or wouldn’t be a success.

Bruxie
Bruxie
1 year ago
Reply to  Funkenschlag!

Might as well go for Colin then…

Bruxie
Bruxie
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruxie

Colin Wanker…anagram for Neil Warnock.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruxie

And there I was thinking this was a sensible conversation..

Bruxie
Bruxie
1 year ago
Reply to  Funkenschlag!

You keep on about Nagelsmann. He’s not that good!
Tuchel will eventually find his level too.
None of these types have experience.
We need a Ancelotti type. JM without the attitude.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruxie

You asked the bloody question, so I replied.

Paleo
Paleo
1 year ago
Reply to  Funkenschlag!

And there was me thinking…..

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruxie

I’d give Nagers a punt. Really not sure what we’ve got to lose as I don’t think he’d get us relegated. Of course he’ll ultimately fail but at least he’ll go out swinging. Rather that than the slow atrophy we’re currently having to endure.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  wasdanspurs

I think it happened around the beginning of the Cretaceous period, give or take a cupla years.

Chauveljn
1 year ago

Wow. Yes, I’d like not to be relegated too. Hardly a glowing recommendation.

Chauveljn
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruxie

I like Graham Potter as a possibility. He rose to prominence with minnows Östersunds FK, taking over after they were relegated into Sweden’s 4th tier, getting two immediate promotions and then solid progression to the top division and winning the cup.

DAVID
DAVID
1 year ago
Reply to  Chauveljn

We need Harry Potter!

Funkenschlag!
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  DAVID

Knowing Levy, we’ll probably get Dobby instead.

Chauveljn
1 year ago
Reply to  Funkenschlag!

He’s magic you know!

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago
Reply to  Chauveljn

Yep gets my vote. Next.

Chauveljn
1 year ago

What, after Potter?

I know Levy’s got a reputation but to discuss the next manager after the next manager is summat else!

SpurAndy🍒🥧
SpurAndy🍒🥧
1 year ago
Reply to  Chauveljn

We need to get at least the next 3 lined up. Oven ready I believe is the term. Four weeks to turn things around and if not you’re OUT!

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