|Mauricio's Secret Weapon: A pressing Machine!|
Against Forest and Arsenal we had a sprinkling of home grown and younger players on the pitch at various times providing a balance of the enthusiasm of youth and the experience of, well experience.
It worked for Pochettino at Southampton and it might just work at Spurs.
Ryan Mason got his chance in the Premiership after his enterprising appearance against Forest against the advice of many including me. But Mauricio was right and the boy played well again.
He turned in some impressive stats particularly on forward passes:
..................................Touches......Accurate Passes......Fwd Passes
Danny Rose ......................54...............19........................8
Etienne Capoue ................50................27......................12
This clearly upset Adebayor who in protest against not being given the top job has declared a go slow. However newly appointed Vertonghen although not signing a new five year contract to replace his old four year one turned in his best performance for some time.
So hats off to Mr. Pochettino who appears to know his squad better than the average fan. He changed his match attire and his tactics to suit the occasion. Out went pressing, except for the suit, and in came solid defence and rapid counter attack.
And it nearly worked with Chadli's goal giving us the lead for nearly 20 minutes after some sound defending by the back five. Lamela provided the assist once again. It was his sixth of the season and no-one else is even close.
So the answer to the question 'What has Lamela ever done for us ?' is 'Provided the assists for over a third of our goals. He can be irritating but he has a talent we are clearly short of; the ability to spot a run and deliver a pass.
We defended 15 Arsenal corners successfully and got a point with 31% possession. Against W. Brom we had over 60% possession and got nothing for it. Slippery things statistics and I only use them when they prove my point.
My point here and Mauricio seems to agree is that there is more than one way to skin a cat and I hope we see more of this Mourinho like flexibility of approach. (No cats were harmed in the writing of this blog by the way)
So is this the week that things turned the corner for Spurs? After all a week is just as long in football as it is in politics.Turning corners is a cliche for writing about Spurs. It seems more of a labyrinth at times. We turn so many corners we sometimes bump into ourselves coming back.
But something has changed. Reports are that Mauricio let rip at the post West. Brom team meeting. The message seemed to be 'Shape up or ship out. My way or no way.' The inclusion of Mason seemed designed to reinforce this message.
For most of the Forest game it appeared that we had not taken Mauricio's words on board. But it came good in the end with the arrival of Mason and Kane. Mason scored a cracker and Soldado diverted a wayward shot from Townsend (What other sort are there?)
Kane finished coolly from a through ball by Lamela. A very similar goal to the one against Arsenal where top scorer Chadli was set up by top assister Erik the Argentinian. Youth to the left of us: youth to the right of us. Well Nacer is only 25.
We have tough tie on Thursday in the Europa against Besitkas but home advantage and new found confidence and momentum should see us take the points. Expect several changes ahead of the game against high flying Southampton.
They are due altitude nose bleeds any time now but the desire to beat their old manager and his equal desire to build on the events of this week should produce a game high in intensity, tactical craftiness and several goals. Hopefully Spurs to win by the odd goal in 5.
Obviously we need a balance of youth and age. We used to have the Bale/Modric axis but as usual we couldn't hold on to them. However the future is bright and we need to build a new axis of the Lamela, Kane, Mason/ Vertonghen, Lloris type.
We have sold the heart and heartbeat of the team in recent seasons but after transplant and cloning advances in medical science it is not impossible to rebuild or grow it again.
Jimmy's Video Spot.
I'm hoping that this marks some sort of milestone this season. Ryan Mason's equalizer; a poacher's delight from Soldado; Lamela sets up Harry Kane and grazes the post; Mauricio comes from behind to win; his substitutions are timely and effective.