After a very difficult week for Tottenham, its time to start analysing some areas that need mending. I have outlined three key areas that I believe need to be addressed and would lead to greater things for Spurs.
1. Create a fixed Starting XI
It’s without a doubt that recent performances are simply not good enough, as was clearly echoed by Tim Sherwood in his post match interview after the defeat to Chelsea. Tim made it blatantly clear that some players simply don’t have the gritty determination as was modelled by Scott Parker in his days at the Lane. Obviously Spurs are not going to delve into the market and fill the team with this calibre of player, but to start, we could make-do with our current squad. That means finding a starting XI that we can rely on, or at least find comfort in, prior to a game.
Injuries and fitness have drastically altered our performances this season, including the side we field each week. Spurs need to select a set XI that should start every week (as Redknapp did in his final season at the Lane), and replace injured players with like-for-like replacements – not those whom are ‘able’ but those who ‘do’ hold that position as their own. For example, if we were to select Danny Rose in this ‘perfect’ XI, should he become incapable for a particular reason, there should be another actual left back ready to fill his boots – not Vertonghen who although able, is not a ‘left-back’ by heart. Do you catch my drift? With this set XI, players know where they will play, what formation they will play and whom their partners in crime will be. Different teams and different locations must cater to alterations of course, but we should have something to believe in, something we can trust in. This also means that youngsters (such as Harry Kane and Nabil Bentaleb), know that if they are going to make the match-day team, they must be better than these players and have something to strive for.
2. Hire LVG
This is not a cry for Van Gaal nor is this anti-Sherwood. Tim should be outstandingly applauded for his efforts this season, after all there are not many Under-21 managers capable of taking over a Premier League side and performing to the standard the team has (forgetting the weaknesses we have displayed). As @RantingSpurs once stated for myself, Van Gaal is a stern figure, often touted as almost dictator-like by the media who he has come into conflict with several times during his illustrious career, stemming from his own philosophy that the media know nothing about the internal runnings of a club and therefore shouldn’t speculate on it.
The Dutch boss is someone that I personally feel would act as the perfect Tottenham manager. The problem I’ve had with our last two managers (AVB and Tim), is that we would go into games with so much panic and nervousness that it would be almost impossible for us to gain a result simply on this alone. Van Gaal is someone that would put me at ease, someone that would bring the calm before the storm and someone that prior to a match, would give us the belief to win because of his general charisma and stern attitude. I do not, repeat do not, think Sherwood has done poorly, I think he has done as well as possible with the atmosphere surrounding him and after all, aiming for top four was ambitious to say the least. Think of it this way, are we better than any of the sides in the top four, and deserve one of their Champions League spots? Personally I don’t believe we are.
3. Improve the home atmosphere
Against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, we had quite possibly the best atmosphere at the Lane for quite some time. I was lucky enough to be a part of the 1882 movement that night and for the first time ever at White Hart Lane, I remained standing with the other fans for the entire game, singing to our hearts content. Then came Cardiff at home. The atmosphere, to say the least was utterly diabolical. These so called ‘family fixtures’ (and although Cardiff wasn’t one of them) quite frankly ruin the atmosphere, and of course children should go and watch their heroes – it’s their basic right to do so, but the club don’t seem to grasp the fact that the frequent use of games like these mean that the atmosphere is ruined because it’s almost like they’re encouraging the silence. Also the allocation on cup games often means a lack of 1882 presence in the stadium, this group of fans should always, always be present at the Lane and in the Last-16 of a European fixture, they won’t be there. Sort it out Spurs! When sitting in the section with the outstanding vocals, you realise how poor the rest of the arena is. When seated elsewhere, other than with the 1882 movement, acoustics and the odd happy chap make it seem as if the atmosphere is everywhere when in fact, its only this selection of fans. We need to do our fair share.
Secondly on the atmosphere, the club must do their fair share also. Do not get me wrong, I am a massive fan of our match-day hosts Pete Abbott and Paul Coyte, they are two voices I associate with my early days at the Lane. However, after my visit to Stamford Bridge recently, I discovered that like Napoli, they have a host present on the pitch-side, before, during and after the game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not praising Chelsea! We just need someone similar. Someone to prep the fans, add excitement to the team sheet and most importantly, celebrate every goal like we do, not just a simple reading of the goalscorer’s title. Something like this: