Tottenham Hotspur travel to Prenton Park and Tranmere Rovers later this evening in our third round FA Cup clash.
The club are trophy-less in the last eleven years as everyone is acutely and probably painfully aware, and there’s been plenty of talk in the campaign of 2018/19 so far about lifting silverware and getting Spurs their day in the sun once more – as opposed to merely showing improvement on a challenging front.
In the buildup to tonight’s action manager Mauricio Pochettino was obviously tasked with a few questions on that score and although I think there was a huge amount of playing down expectations in his answer, his answer itself was interesting and for me, I hope, suggests the public message is a lot different to the private message within the dressing room.
Taking the angle that Spurs could still demonstrate progress without an update to the trophy cabinet, he told Sky Sports.
“For many people it’s so important for us to win. For me, of course it’s important, like for the players and the club, to win a trophy. It will show we are in a good position, and of course it’s going to be good for our egos. But always I told you, the club need to first of all be consistent in the top four and then think about challenging for trophies.”
Standard fair really for managers in the modern game given the importance of the Premier League riches, and Poch more than alluded to that himself, as he added.
“When you add that you need to finish your facilities, like the training ground or the new stadium, you add difficult things. But I think we are in a good way. Of course I accept the different opinions, but I’m not sure whether winning the Carabao Cup or FA Cup is going to change the character of the club.”
I think he erred with the final line – mainly because he didn’t expect muppets like me to read into it.
The character of the club financially, no, he’s right it wouldn’t. You get more these days for being relegated to the Championship as we all know.
The character of the club in terms of our long-term plan, building for the future and having a vision, no.
But character, in the true sense. I’m sure he’s saying differently in private, because it would. A justification, a confidence lift, don’t underestimate a successful day out at Wembley when it counts for more than a weekly game.
The character of the club being winners again – restoring their place in the history books and not just as plucky challengers…something tangible. That makes a difference and I’m sure he knows it.