I haven't been this confident or excited about Spurs prospects since,well,er,last season. And therein lies the rub. Just when we thought that pre-season couldn't get any better, it did. We capped an exciting run of games with a really classy performance against Roma that lifted all our spirits and took our minds off the first real test next week against Middlesbrough. The test that actually matters.
Last season it all came undone in spectacular fashion against new boys Sunderland by conceding to one of our trademark late goals that was to set the pattern for the season to come. But compare the team that started that day to the likely starting line up this season and even if we sign no more players there is a huge leap in quality.
There is also the Ramos factor and I don't mean the mythical qualities that he is supposed to possess.
I mean the way in which he has got the team to play. Not only has he given the team confidence he has given them a new way of playing in which possession and flexibility are the key. Apart from the key positions down the spine of the team(goalkeeper,centre halves,centre forward ) almost everyone can fulfil multiple roles and do so within the confines of a single game not just from game to game. The key to the new Spurs is 'keep the ball'. This, plus new levels of fitness mean that we can control the pace and direction of the game We can switch play, not by playing the long cross field ball, but by inter passing through, not over, the midfield. Gomes who rarely kicks the ball out and skilful midfielders like Modric and Jenas will assist in this mission not to give the ball away.
Last season many balls out of defence from Dawson and Robinson were 50/50 balls and it was only the phenomenal skill of Berbatov that turned any profit from them. But this one dimensional way of playing leads to the law of diminishing returns.(students of Economics will know where I am going here).Once a play is predictable it can be countered.
That wont happen this season because the opposition won't know what's going to happen next and nor will the fans. We have wingers that can play on either side or through the middle, both Lennon and Bentley scored from central positions today: midfielders who can play defense or attack (Modric,Jenas,Huddleston) : overlapping fullbacks, forwards who can play in the hole(Berbatov,Dos Santos and Modric) and in Zokora,Huddleston and Bale players that can fill a wide range of defensive and attacking roles.Well perhaps Zokora should stick to defensive ones but he is flexible and has played well at right back.
We have played two Champions League teams and won without conceding a goal. We have played good football and taken our chances well. Every member of the squad has been given an opportunity and has grabbed it with both feet especially Bent. If we keep Berbatov and dont sign anyone else this is a team that can push for top six.
So what have we learnt from pre-season? Expect the unexpected. Believe the unbelievable. Think the unthinkable. Were gonna.....No think it, don't say it ....yet.