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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Spurs set out not to lose and fail, wrong approach


1st Half
0 - 0
2nd Half
1 - 0
(Tripping) Walker K.
Perbet J. (Milicevic D.)
Son Heung-MinDembele M. 
N'Koudou G.Sissoko M. 
(Foul) Alli D.
Kalu S. Simon M.
Coulibaly K. Perbet J.
Eriksen C.Winks H. 
Gershon R. Asare N.

Another poor away performance where we didn't look as though we set out to win the game. In Europe, we seem to be hopeless away from home. As I wrote in a recent article about our poor first half performance record, we don't set out to win, we set out not to lose, which means we give ourselves 45 minutes to try and win a game.

It looked to me as if certain players weren't motivated, perhaps they didn't rate the opposition and thus didn't properly motivate themselves for the game. Every game is a big game, not just against a top four side in the English Premier League.

Harry Winks was everywhere, yet Mousa Dembele, although missed when he went off, was poor by his standards and Victor Wanyama looked as if he was going through the motions. Moussa Sissoko was his usual hopeless self, I don't know why we insist on playing him on the wing, he is a central midfielder.

I don't think Pochettino rates him at all and we may well be looking to offload him in the summer, as we only have to pay an amount per year he stays with us. Sell him quickly and he will not have cost us £30 million.

Georges-Kevin N'Koudou doesn't look near first tram standard yet, Vincent Janssen is clearly not thought up to it and when we can't feed Kane we have no attack. Dele Alli was off the boil, Eric Dier is still learning his trade at centre-back, Kevin Wimmer isn't trusted as he hardly gets a look in.

It is only 1-0 and the tie is very much alive, but Gent will be really up for playing at Wembley so we have to be and we haven't been yet.

We once again had the wrong mindset for the game. Commentators telling us it takes time for youngsters to learn the right mindset is nonsense, it can be taught if you have the right people teaching, professionals. Mindset is a skill on its own and it has its own set of professionals, they are not football coaches, they can only teach you so much about mindset, which isn't enough if we want to rise to the top in the shortest possible time.

We can still get there, but it will take a lot longer.

Further THBN Reading
Common knowledge Bentaleb was never returning to Spurs
Spurs bid for Bruno Peres
Summer target a striker and winger
Damarai Gray - our summer target, should we pursue him?
Pochettino and his analysis staff - did they get it wrong?
Simple explanation for the Liverpool defeat

Over 550 Spurs articles at Tottenham Hotspur News



  1. I watched both the Spurs and Man U games and what stood out for me was the enormous impact the referee makes - especially in European games.

    We were chopped down every five minutes with complete immunity - not to mention Walker's booking for a lunge that was not at the player but the player moved towards AFTER the ball had been fairly played. Their goal came from a GK which clearly should have been our corner. Man U had two goals from an FK and a pen awarded when Ibrahimovich hit the floor without contact and when their man was brought down in the box the ref bottled awarding them a deserved pen.

    It's easy to miss the importance that a blatantly biased referee can have on a side's performance. Mentality is an important factor as players need to continue to play at the top level in spite of knowing quite clearly that the game is being swung heavily in favour of the opposition.

    I must admit I find that hard to criticise players for not managing to achieve, even though I recognise that unless we do we will always be limited as a team and club.

    It's hard not to focus on the very obvious injustice in such a situation, but sadly that's exactly what we need to do on so many occasions (Fiorentina at WHL last year being a perfect example - even though we managed a 3-0 on the day, but lost Dele for the next tie in spite of his yellow being a disgraceful cheat by the ref. Just an excuse not to award a penalty).

    I'm happy to talk about where we went wrong at Liverpool, who played well and strongly. Here the situation involved such muddy waters I'm loathe to criticise the players - even though without that proper consideration it may appear they were not at the races.

  2. Sorry I have to disagree the ref makes decisions it's down to the players on the pitch. And yet again ours were not up to the requirements.
    Not sure if it's a mental approach or what? We seemed lacklustre and mundane, didn't hold the ball and how often was a players first touch poor even when not under pressure.
    That was not because of the referee that's down to the players

    Yet another very poor performance
    It seems to me that every time we are put under pressure we fold. We are a shadow of the team we were in Dec/Jan just don't understand what has gone wrong but at least once we got rid of Sissoko Walker could play his natural game.

    We seem to have lost our way. A worrying trend.

    Come back Jan even unfit he must be better than what I've witnessed tonight.
    Where is the quality???
    Very poor

    1. Very few appreciate the impact a ref can have on the players and their attitude. I'm not saying it should be used as an excuse. The players must learn to deal with it. Nevertheless, it's often the cause for extra stress on the players. How many times have we seen players playing at a decent level but come up against a ref that simply gave everything he could to the other side. In Europe it's all too common.

      The Gent game wasn't as bad as many, but the accumulation of such decisions certainly had an adverse affect - putting the team under much more pressure than we should have had to deal with.

      Compare it with the Man U game and you have to feel that St Etienne were cheated of three goals. Our ref wasn't nearly as bad but it all adds up to skewing the game iteself, not merely the result. Players appear to have played badly judging by the stats, but these are so misleading when the ref gets it wrong consistently.

      I do ref sometimes (Used to more TBF), so I know how thankless and difficult a task it can be. I also know how important it is to the game as a whole.

      I respect you have a different perspective, but so few appreciate how much of an impact the ref can make on a game. A perfect ref affects it not at all of course, and that was always my aim when reffing.

  3. If you look at the players' positional report on 'WhoScored' you can see that we lost our discipline, especially compared to that of Gent.
    Too many of our players influencing the middle of the pitch and, I'm sorry to say, not for the first time. Against L'pool, for example Kane, Dele & Sonny were the culprits.



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