Morale is pretty low at Spurs after a summer of optimism. Some might say nothing much changes.
I still think that Pochettino is the man for the job but I am starting to worry about the players. They have ability but the overall blend seems wrong, they don’t fit the manager’s preferred style and there is a lack of leadership in the squad.
We all knew in the summer that there were some problem areas – left back, centre back, striker. Not all were addressed and those that did arrive have been even more of a disappointment than last year. Ben Davies has looked poor against smaller teams in the cups, Fazio has now been sent off twice in a handful of appearances and Stambouli is yet to start in the Premier League.
As for at striker and central midfield, we are relying on youth team products – Harry Kane and Ryan Mason. Of course it’s good that these players have forced there way into the side but it’s a big ask to expect them to carry our season.
For me we have four big problems:
- 1. A lack of width.
It is too easy to shut us down by congesting the centre of the pitch. Normally width is provided by the fullbacks in Pochettino’s preferred 4-2-3-1 but ours just aren’t up to it. If we could ever get him fit, Walker would be perfect in this role.
- 2. Problems defending balls behind our defence.
The system calls for mobile, intelligent centre backs. How we could have done with Musacchio!
- 3. Pressure on the ball.
Pochettino was known for his high pressing but that hasn’t happened enough at Spurs. Opponents are free to pick their passes which has contributed to point 2.
- 4. A lack of leadership.
Kaboul has not worked out as captain. Nobody takes responsibility and heads drop too easily.
So why has this happened?
While Pochettino has to take some of the responsibility (he chose the captain for a start), a large part of the blame has to fall at the feet of Daniel Levy and Franco Baldini. There has been a lack a coherent strategy when it comes to player recruitment, while the turnover of managers hasn’t helped.
A glimmer of hope
The news that Southampton head of recruitment and Pochettino ally, Paul Mitchell, is on his way to Spurs is very welcome. Much has been made of our poor scouting network and lack of a well defined transfer strategy. Mitchell brings a more targeted scientific approach.
Baldini may still be useful in the role he should have had all along – as a negotiator with a network of connections to agents, not as an identifier of talent or strategy.
The most promising aspect of Mitchell’s appointment is that, as someone who has worked well with Pochettino before, it is a signal that the manager is here to stay. After a high turnover of managers, how can anyone impose his will on the squad? A player doesn’t have to buy in to an ideology, he just has to wait until Levy gets impatient and the next guy comes along.
The short term doesn’t look good but with a revised transfer approach and some patience, the future might look a little better.
Who is to blame for Spurs poor performances? What would you change? Let me know in the comments below.