Gonna win the league, right?

by Steven Sparkle

It's all sorts of wrongs to be honest. It's way too early. It wasn't long ago that many of us (most of us) had written Jose off as a dinosaur that got rebranded as a dodo.

Okay, so we’re not winning the league. We’re not right? Right?

I think it’s a strange type of comfortable that for the second ‘time’ in my adult life supporting Spurs, I can actually contemplate the theoretical mind fuck that is considering that my beloved club might be caught up in a title race. Perhaps only to put the pressure on, but alas, that’s still us in with a shout. Right?

It’s all sorts of wrongs to be honest. It’s way too early. It wasn’t long ago that many of us (most of us) had written Jose off as a dinosaur that got rebranded as a dodo. Under Poch, we believed and so did most of the pundits and even rival fans, that Spurs were onto something. Then we imploded, thanks to perhaps stretching the fantasy into the realm of reality and proceeded to miss the discovery of the God particle. Spurs went supernova and died.

Winning the league? It wont be an easy task and it never is. I wouldn’t really commit to it with my head but perhaps with my heart? I do fancy us and the odds are pretty decent. Check them out for yourself here best betting sites in the uk. Anything is possible this season, right? Which brings me onto the madness of it all.

But now, in the midst of the surrealism the season has given us, we might be in with a shout because, well, because football is being a bit daft with how it’s going about itself. VAR, no fans, no real home advantage. This leveller of sorts has distorted expectation. It’s positively (or negatively, depends on your perspective) wiped out the perceived notion of how things should play out. Whilst Spurs try to find their feet under Jose Mourinho’s overhaul of philosophy (literally involves him taking the book on philosophy and binning it) everyone else (all other Prem clubs) are having a bit of a flux with their own ego in amongst the hierarchy.

It’s early days though and the lack of a true pre-season means the clubs that rely on the high press and swarming constant physicality of the art of pressing are not match ready. The clubs that aren’t meant to experience table topping form (how dare they) have had the freedom of the park to flex their belief without having to endure their (possibly) hard to please home supporters. 

Spurs might be at a disadvantage here, not having us, ye olde faithful – to conduct inspired pushes of play. You get this, you know this. I’m going around in a circle. The point is, the season is fucking weird. And Jose is a bit of a weirdo and our players are proper weird too. If we want to, honestly contend, then there’s some fairly simple things we need to start doing. There is no time limit on this, because there is no way of knowing if any other ‘top club’ or ‘club that shouldn’t be near the top’ will find equilibrium and start to move away from the pack. Which makes it doubly important that we…

1) Start to game manage better

I know Jose loves to sit back, contain and soak it up and then counter – but this isn’t in our DNA historically and it isn’t in our recent DNA either. Sure, it is in some ways but it’s the whole responsibility of defending that has me worried. Especially from set-pieces. And yes, we need to be more astute and intelligent and that c-word type of thing. BUT…we also need to get there first. We need to transition. So perhaps first make use of the attacking prowess of the side and not live on the edge. Like we did against West Ham. Well, almost did. Perhaps had we scored four we’d be fine. In fact, just score four goals then look to sit back a little. 

2) Rotate the squad without breaking momentum (and the hearts of players)

Not an easy one this. But winning breeds winning mentality which breeds winning. When we have a dodgy Thursday night game in the Europa I know we have the depth and quality to rest players but what happened against Antwerp felt a bit clunky and I don’t know, I’m sure I’m reading too much into it – but it feels like we lost a bit of mojo during the proceedings. Keep the core going, get the job done, rest them and bring in players that are like for like to allow the identity of the side to grow. Rather than cameo a mis-matched 11 that can’t find their groove and will never find synergy.

3) Learn from mistakes

Mistakes so far? Not smashing Newcastle before they equalised with a last gasp pen. Not smashing West Ham (four goals mate, four) and then not seeing out the game. Get rid of passive culture that invites the opposition and gives them confidence. Learning means not repeating. I’d rather get the kinks out early and then push on with a far more robust and dirty attitude and application. Of course, maybe the quality in the Prem has also levelled out – so treat every team as a danger. Kill them before they kill us.

4) Do it in the big games

This is ongoing. This is afterall, what Jose was signed to do. He adapts, he makes changes for the opponent in question. It’s about winning when sometimes winning is more important than the way you set out to win (i.e. ugly and not entertaining). The difference making points isn’t the ones we dropped against Newcastle/West Ham…it’s the ones we claim if we beat City and Chelsea later in November.

5) Lead and protect that lead

I’m talking about top spot. Spurs have not felt that pressure, that responsibility. We’ve not had the opportunity to feel galvanised by sitting in 1st place. We have not had destiny in our own hands. We’ve chased. I think this one is pretty much the most imperative. And it’s one that will break us, regardless of the form we might have if it happens and we’re top at any point in the season. 

It will break us because, imagine the pressure we as supporters will feel where every game feels like the most important game because we’re protecting form and points and that lead, whilst other clubs – teams that have won titles – put the pressure on us. The levels we would need to find. It gives me butterflies. The expectancy is something that will no doubt ruin our experience of enjoyment because we will all go fully Mou and want to win at all costs – including sacrificing our style of play. It’s a dirty old world, this winning business. 

I guess this is where I cite the title of this article, about Spurs ‘possibly’ winning the league. That the feat itself is hardly an easy task. But then again, there was a certain fairy-tale season for one particular side that played out to ridiculous pre-season odds. The impossible isn’t often a fantastical miracle. It’s circumstantial, but it is improbable most of the time. From our perspective, we keep comparing ourselves to proper fully fledged clubs that are always competing for 1st place and how we measure up to the expected standards to be able to compete alongside them. 

We might not need to be half as good as we think we need to be. We just need to be Tottenham. All the good things and less of the disappointing things, like naivety and softness and failure to cement our belief in the faces of the opposition. If only everyone had a Lamela complex, we’d have won the title by now.

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