Date: 18th April 2018 at 8:00pm
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Disjointed. That’s the best word I can come up with for last night’s display against Brighton. There’s no doubt that Saturday’s game is the most important one and making changes for the match yesterday was inevitable, but we were never going to have a free flowing performance with the team that was selected.

There is a difference between having fresh players and match fit ones. The likes of Sissoko, Lucas and Toby are fresh after having started very few matches recently, but for some, the lack of match sharpness was evident.

It’s very difficult to thrust a group of players together, and expect a performance when you make changes, not necessarily so much in the number of personnel changes, but how they were set up to play.

How many times have you seen the midfield pairing of Sissoko and Wanyama? In the second half, we tried Lucas from the left hand side, and Son with Kane through the middle. The switch certainly helped us open up the Seagulls for the opening goal, but other than that, our lack of creativity showed.

Personally, the centre midfield pairing was the biggest flaw. You have to have someone in the middle who can control the tempo, and neither were able to give us the opportunity to put Brighton under sustained pressure with long spells.

The partnership was essentially one selected with the FA Cup semi-final in mind, keeping Dembele and Dier fresh and ready for the weekend. There’s no doubt we were the better side, but the draw means we don’t have the momentum we would have liked heading into the game against United.

Poch’s one eye on the prize is certainly understandable considering the desire to see this team win its first trophy, but as I’ve said before, there have been some worrying signs over the last few matches that we are not at our best.

We can excuse last night’s performance as being down to the number of changes made, but during April, there has only really been one half of football against Chelsea for me that shows the level of football that will be required at Wembley. Hopefully, we can turn on the style when needed on Saturday.


43 Replies to “Taking his eye off the ball could prove costly for Poch and Spurs”

  • Spurs will probably lose to Man Utd on Saturday because Pochettino has no idea when tactics need to change
    In the game. Team selection also is strange look at last night against Brighton.
    He needs to Alderweireld on Saturday but since he has favourited he won’t play.

  • I’ll be amazed and delighted if we get the better of United – Mourinho seems to be a shadow of the manager he was a few years ago, but he’s still a serial trophy winner, and potless Pochettino has proved several times that he isn’t able to get his players to turn up for the really big games, as the 2015 League Cup final and 2017 FA Cup semi defeats by Chelsea, and this year’s collapse against Juventus in the CL show. We haven’t played well for several games now, and you can’t turn form on like flicking a light switch, so I reckon we’re on for an eighth consecutive FA Cup semi-final defeat on Saturday. On the other hand, United might be even worse than against WBA – we can always hope – we’re Spurs after all.

  • It’s going to be a tough game but no particular reason why we can’t win – it’ll be down to whose best on the day. IF Poch can’t get the best out of them – doubt anyone else can. Getting top 4 is a trophy in itself given we now have a top 6 and the money involved. Glad we managed to do it 4 times in total (this year included as doubt we’ll throw it away) before we even got a brand new stadium and the revenue that will come with that and on a net spend of £2m apparently – bodes well for the future.

  • “and potless Pochettino has proved several times that he isn’t able to get his players to turn up for the really big games” yes, if you define big games as all the big games we don’t win and not the big games we do win, like Real Madrid or Chelsea at Stamford Bridge for the first time in almost 30 years.

  • I am not very good at putting an argument/discussion on paper but hey! Here we go again, we haven’t even kicked off v MU yet and yet we have lost, in the 60 years I have supported Spurs I have always been positive, it seems to me as the years go on Spurs fans become more negative, why? we are competing against the deep pockets money bag sides and doing in my opinion well, yes there are ups and downs, that’s football it adds to the entertainment.

    Some fans blame Levy, some blame Poch, some blame the players, blah! blah! some listen to the b******t brainwashing of the media and its so called experts, so I have to ask if it is so important and that all you want is to be a serial winner of trophies like say MC, MU, RM or Barca just to name a few, why support Spurs or any other team in all leagues for that matter, if only winning trophies makes you happy, I think you should go and support a serial winning side and become another pot hunting fan as many of the so called ‘big clubs’ have.

    Over the years I have been reading/following VS, the biggest thing I have noticed is, we lose! endless rants and whinges, if we win! a hell of a lot less, I know Spurs can be frustrating but hey that’s football but I will always love and support them, if everything is about winning and is the be all and end all why/how do ‘other’ sides have fans. Do not get me wrong I love reading some of the analysis/opinions written, but the real negativity does my head in.

    I know I am going to provoke a reaction so bring it on! As said previously I love my Spurs and will support them until the end of my life as my sons/daughters will themselves.

    If we are on our game we will beat MU and Moaninio, the so called serial winner who I would like to see manage/coach a side with restrictions. COYS always

  • It seems to me that all the top sides are capable of beating each other, even City have lost to Liverpool and United. Where Poch still needs to sharpen up a bit is tactically. Against City he didn’t seem to know how to play them. The game was lost in the first thirty minutes after which City eased off (I doubt they could have kept playing at the level they started at). Against Juventus the game was lost in five minutes. We have the players but are sometimes lacking that tactical awareness to make sure we impose our game on the opposition. We’ll see what happens Saturday.

  • PompeyYid – Mourinho has managed a side with restrictions – in fact his first claim to fame is winning the Champions League with Porto… You may not like him, but you have to respect his body of work…

  • As for the game against United, I still fancy our chances. I’ve never thought we were the favourites in the tie, but we have players who on their day can beat anyone. In fact on talent alone, I think a lot of our players would get in a combined 11. Where I fear the game is on the tactical side, like other posters. If MP insists on “sticking to his philosophy”, we’ll again be very predictable and there is no doubt in my mind that Mourinho will have a very specific game plan to negate that. At our very best, our brand of football is very hard to defend against, but the perfect execution of that system requires a lot of hard work and fantastic fitness levels. In recent games, a few of our players have looked fatigued and/or below their usually high standards, so are we in the best shape right now to play a high-intensity game? If we don’t have that extra step to create separation, the system becomes slow and easy to defend against. That’s what I worry about.

  • When was the last time Mourinho got a win or even a draw away to Pochettinos Spurs? Even his title winning Cheslea lost 5-3 to a team including including Fazio, Chadli, Mason, Bentaleb and Townsend. If tactically, Poch is a one trick pony, its a hell of a trick, which Mourinho hasn’t fully sussed for several years now. It should be a tight game and it isn’t really a home game, but I think Mourinhos tactical abilities are exaggerated. Some people are even suggesting his tactics are outdated. Not saying I agree, but if football has moved forward, with his arrogance, he is the type of manager to hang on to old ways longer than necessary.

  • Poch should make the brave decision and keep re-instate the back 3 of Toby-Sanchez-Jan against Utd. Our weak link is still the full backs and that allows them to focus on pinning Valencia and Young back rather than sitting in alongside the centre halves. We just need to trust that Vertonghen’s forays in the left channel will compensate for not having an extra attacking player on the pitch. We can always revert to 4-2-3-1 if need be in the second half.

    My team would be Lloris; Toby, Sanchez, Verts; Trippier, Dier, Dembele, Davies; Dele, Kane, Eriksen.
    Subs: Vorm, Aurier, Rose, Wanyama, Lamela, Son, Moura.

  • Guyver – given that he won 2 trophies last year with an imperfect Man U squad, I think there is plenty of recent evidence to suggest that his tactics still suit modern football, wouldn’t you? I think you and I agree: neither of us want to name Mourinho the greatest manager on earth, but I think we can both agree that any of his detractors are mostly basing their arguments on his irritable personality rather than his results, which speak for themselves.

  • Guyvver – As for MP vs Mourinho, I think looking at the stats purely when Man U have been away only tells part of the story. Yes, Man U has not won away to Spurs since 2012 (although some of those results predate Mourinho). And clearly, because the game is in Wembley, those are the results you choose to look at. However, in head to head games between Mourinho and MP (14 in total), Mourinho has won 10, MP 3 and there has been one draw (not all of those games were between United and Spurs though). So essentially, the only times MP has gotten the best of Mourinho are in the last 3 games at home. I really hope the “Wembley home advantage”, if there is such a thing, is going to play, because otherwise, the stats don’t look promising.

  • Muttley – that’s the system I thought we should have played against City. And the 11 was almost exactly the same, the exception being Wanyama in for Toby (because he was out of favour) and Dier in the back 3. Now, United don’t pose the same threat as City so it’ll be interesting to see what MP goes for.

  • BS, it helped that Man Utd were in the easiest EL competition in recent memory. They didn’t have to overcome one decent team and with the motivation of CL football and effectively conceding top 4, they were huge favourites to win it. Its not like Arsenal this season having to beat Atletico Madrid. In the CL this season, of the 5 English teams, his Man Utd gave the worse showing, eventually dominated over both legs and knocked out by La Ligas 7th placed team.

    His detractors are basing their opinions on recent history, rather than his personality or what he has achieved in his long successful career. I think the criticism is fair or can at least be justified to a certain extent and his stock has clearly fallen since Chelsea sacked him in 2015. To correct that, he’ll have to at challenge for the EPL next season, or/and do better in the CL. After 3 years at Man Utd with the resources he has available, that is the least you’d expect.

  • To be honest Belgian Spur, yes I cannot abide the man, I did know that regards Moaninio and Porto, but how long ago was that i ask?
    I also believe he is a manager who never sticks around for more than about 3 years, once the players he has start to understand its all about him, they lose! players fault, they win! “how great am I”, for me if he ran our team it would be my worst nightmare, any way enough said its just my opinion.

    Like I said previously if we are at our best for the game we will win, though a few do not, I have faith in Poch, that might come back to bit me on my backside, but on the day anything can/will happen, esp in the FA Cup, that’s why we love football.

    Just seen the officials – Match Ref Manchester area born! plus Tuesday nights ref who gave a pen against us. conspiracy theorists to have a field day. COYS

  • BS, oh come on. obviously im not going to include MP’s time at Southampton and Espanyol as that unfairly skews the statistics in Mourinhos favour. Im just pointing to the fact, Mourinho has been unable to work out MP’s tactics in away games, whilst MP is managing a team (Spurs) that are capable of competing. MP hasn’t beaten Mourinho away either II think), but the games at WHL/Wembley were a hell of a lot more one sided than the games at Old Trafford. You wouldn’t expect that if Mourinhos is as you imply, the versatile tactical genius (with a propensity for sleep inducing football), while MP is the predictable one trick pony.

  • Worth remembering that sometimes the manager gets the tactics spot on but the players don’t execute them or make individual errors that negate the tactics. That’s what happened against Brighton in my opinion.

    Most of us respect Sissoko as a decent water carrier. He’s fit, has a great engine and is physically strong. Why he thinks his manager can pick him in a 2 man centre midfield pivot and he just goes and plays right wing baffles me. Eriksen, on the other hand, is our most creative player and in the goals at the moment. Therefore, why did we see our water carrier playing right wing whilst our creative player was covering for him in deeper midfield positions for a big chunk of the first half. It’s bad enough that Son always ends up sprinting to defend as he never engages his brain when he should. Eriksen does a lot of covering for Son already in any match and in that match ended up covering for Sissoko as well. Said this before, but this is where Winks is on that higher level tactically and we missed him badly in the Brighton match when Dembele needed a rest.

    Even then, Poch’s mis-executed tactics gave us a one goal lead by the hour mark. Then the Aurier mistake happened and we’re back to square one. Instead of finding gaps for the rest of the match and getting the 2nd and 3rd goal, we end up pegged back to a draw. Poch did his best to change the tactics by switching Moura, Son and Kane around but it wasn’t enough on the day.

    I will call Poch out for the few games like City where he was tactically inept, but most of the time he is thinking on his feet. Like most managers, he hasn’t got the right personnel or had enough time with the players to nurture them. Mourinho probably feels the same at Utd. Poch has had a 4 year tenure whereas Mourinho has had a bucket load of cash to throw at the problem. Both would still class their projects as work in progress and want to switch out players in the summer.

  • Just to add, I don’t believe Mourinho is a bad manager, he is still one of the best at this point, but he evidently has flaws and his strengths are, as I stated earlier, exaggerated at times. He isn’t as versatile as some like to believe either. His teams sit back when defending, rarely press (statistically, Man Utd are in last place for distance covered per game in the EPL) and prefer to draw opponents onto them before countering. He may have slight variations of that base style, but nothing drastically different. Its been interesting seeing him struggle to get a more attacking tactic going in recent months under fan pressure. Shows how difficult complete system changes can be.

    To be fair, this probably applies to all managers. This is real life, not a computer game. To command your players to do something completely different to what you bought and trained them for, rarely works, hence you only see these huge tactical changes, temporarily, in very specific moments within a game. Eg being overly offensive attempting to grab an late equaliser.

  • Guyver – As always, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. While we can be quick to point out the shortcomings of Man U in the CL, Mourinho still has his team placed 2nd and performing better in every other competition (PL, LC, FAC) than Liverpool (who are still in the CL), for example. Who’s had the better season? Is the performance in the CL alone such an important indicator? Unless Liverpool actually go on to win the CL, you could argue that Man U have had a better season overall, despite Liverpool still being in the CL. In the last 4 seasons Jose’s won the PL, EL and FA Cup – not too many managers in world football can claim a better record. Anyone that claims he’s past it is not very objective and clearly has an agenda against him is my point. Much like claiming that his EL triumph is somehow diminished because of the quality of opponent. You can only beat the team in front of you and there is no evidence one way or another that he wouldn’t have beaten a stronger opponent. I don’t think the luck of the draw can be held against him. We’ve had a realtively easy ride in the FA cup so far – if we go on to win it, is the trophy somehow worth less because of it? History books won’t remember anything but the winner in a few years’ time, nor should they. I just think Mourinho’s track record is hard to argue against, especially in the latter stages of a big competition. I’m not claiming he’s a genius but he always seems to have his teams drilled and well prepared, at the very least. Beyond that, as muttley pointed out, there are many intangibles, not least how well the players execute a game plan. But I don’t think there can be any discussion regarding both managers’ experience (and track record) in big games, and in hugely uncertain ties like Saturday, experience can be the difference. And that’s clearly an advantage to Jose.

  • Some of the comments on here show just how difficult a position our man Poch is in, we can say we should do this or do that team set up wise, does he play Alders, if he does not and we lose, hell to play, play Sanchez and Moaninio might just target him, decisions decisions, here is what I would like the team to look like on Saturday v MU –

    Aurier and Rose (if available)
    Alders, Sanchez and Verts
    Erik and Lamella

    What do you all reckon?

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