Tottenham Hotspur 20/21: José se foi.

Zososoxfan

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It's not really formation or personnel so much as philosophy and mentality. That group with three DMs played Fulham off the pitch in the first half, but once they got to halftime with the lead they changed approach and became much more passive and reactive:

View attachment 37935
Well fook me that's on point. I was on understat yesterday for the first time. Is there a way to parse/view data to see xG/90 (i.e. xG/game)? I'm really curious what Fulham's average xG is in the EPL to see how yesterday compares.
 

DJnVa

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https://theathletic.com/2328437/2021/01/20/gareth-bales-tottenham-return-whats-gone-wrong/?source=dailyemail
Despite playing time issues, he's apparently pretty happy being back however.

And yet despite the frustrations on the pitch, sources are unanimous that Bale is happy at Spurs and enjoying his time there. He still has the European Championship to look forward to in the summer, which is hugely important to him. At the last Euros in 2016, he took debutants Wales to an unlikely semi-final and he would desperately love to make a similar impression on this summer’s tournament. Given the intensity difference between club and international football, he might well be able to.

Until then, Bale is enjoying life back in leafy north London, and back at a club he loves. He has plenty of friends among the Spurs team and staff, and he has been found to be precisely the same character as the youngster who made his name at the club a decade ago: funny, jovial, relaxed, youthful, plenty of jokes, schoolboy pranks, no airs and graces. Those seven years as a galactico and four Champions League trophies have not changed his fundamental character at all.

Last summer, before signing Bale, Spurs signed Joe Hart on a free transfer from Burnley, in part to be a vocal leader around the club. And one dressing room source says that Bale has effectively shared that role with the former England goalkeeper, encouraging people around the training ground, contributing to the positive feeling at Tottenham, injecting some big-name character into the place where it had been lacking in the past. “If we are successful this year,” the source says, “a lot of that will be down to Bale and Hart.”
 

Zososoxfan

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I was listening via BBC Radio, but it seems like the old adage 'HAD EM THE WHOLE TIME' applies here. What are your takeaways from today's monumental win over Wycombe?
 

Tangled Up In Red

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I only half watched, but Bale played his best match for us since his return (Spurs board agrees) and Tanguy was brilliant in his short stint.
So many chances, just couldn't quite find the net (until the 85th) with any consistency.
 

scott bankheadcase

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I watched the game and Spurs really did have them all the way. Bale should have had a hat trick in the first half, Spurs hit the word work 3 times, Lucas was an unlucky bounce away from scoring, son missed 2 absolute sitters, Kane missed 1.

And with all that the score line was still 4-1.

The encouraging thing is that Bale looked a lot more like Bale in this game. He’s played against inferior competition plenty this season and this is the first time he looks himself.
 

Zososoxfan

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I watched the game and Spurs really did have them all the way. Bale should have had a hat trick in the first half, Spurs hit the word work 3 times, Lucas was an unlucky bounce away from scoring, son missed 2 absolute sitters, Kane missed 1.

And with all that the score line was still 4-1.

The encouraging thing is that Bale looked a lot more like Bale in this game. He’s played against inferior competition plenty this season and this is the first time he looks himself.
You mean he was running. Nice.
 

DJnVa

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Wasn't able to watch all of it, but Bale definitely had a more consistent burst.
 

Kliq

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You have Toby Alderweireld on the bench so you can start...Eric Dier and Joe Rodan. Against Liverpool. Kane is hurt. Jose OUT!!!
 

Zososoxfan

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I was watching with one eye today, but I'd say all the goals against today should be chalked up to player errors, with only the first goal possibly due to poor tactical setup. With the caveat that I didn't see the Wycombe match and I heard that Toby was shockingly bad, Doherty, Dier, and Rodon had horrible performances today.

The first goal involved a communication breakdown and horrid technique by Dier. With a back 3, the CB has to be the man in charge and on the double assist either Dier needs to tell Rodon to drop off, or Dier needs to push up along with Davies to pull Mane offside. Both Rodon and Serge are hovering near Mane and it looks like Serge tells Rodon he's passing Mane off, but Rodon is in bad position. Credit to Mane and Henderson (?) who timed the ball over the top perfectly. So, Rodon likely misplayed his man Mane, but then Dier literally doesn't make a decision as to whether to cut off the cross or track Firmino running in. Dier's been pretty solid at CB over the course of the season but his awareness is shockingly bad. Many goals against Spurs this season have come in balls behind and over the top of Dier. Nevertheless, I do wonder how much Mourinho has drilled this team with a back 3 of Davies-Dier-Rodon.

On the second goal, Spurs are now in a back 4 with Doherty-Rodon-Dier-Davies. Doherty gets embarrassed by Mane on a simple turn where Doherty overplays a tackle comically. Rodon doesn't move up to challenge Mane quickly enough (everyone was marked, so why are you backing down), but Mane only gets off an OK shot. Hugo then coughs up a baaaaad rebound (just shovel it out mon ami), and Spurs are recovering so aggressively from Doherty's goof that TAA is there to slam the rebound (not going to fault Winks, Hoj, or Davies here).

On the third goal, Rodon just fucked up. It was a backbreaking mistake, and hopefully he learns from it.

This is a strong Spurs squad but they're weak at CB. Toby is nearing the twilight, Dier is still learning the position, Rodon is inexperienced, and Sanchez isn't trusted. Toss a bad mistake by Doherty into the mix, and Liverpool punished them.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Hugo included, Davies was the only member of the defense to not be truly awful today.

This team has not recovered from replacing 2 elite CBs with 0 elite CBs. It's taken some drudgery for him to get there, but I'm honestly also shocked at how good Jose has the goals against record without a reliable RB or above average CB. The offense and watchability does surely suffer for it though.
 

coremiller

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I'm more bothered by the lack of offensive production because there shouldn't be talent issues on offense. They have plenty of talented attacking players but they got completely shut down by Liverpool's makeshift centerbacks. They had only 3 shots in 90 minutes despite playing most of the game level or behind.

When the direct Kane/Son counter isn't working they don't really have an effective attacking Plan B against good teams.
 

caseumsd

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I'm more bothered by the lack of offensive production because there shouldn't be talent issues on offense. They have plenty of talented attacking players but they got completely shut down by Liverpool's makeshift centerbacks. They had only 3 shots in 90 minutes despite playing most of the game level or behind.

When the direct Kane/Son counter isn't working they don't really have an effective attacking Plan B against good teams.
Hearing Kane is now out for a few weeks with ankle injuries...maybe now we see Vinicius play up top? The fact that down a goal at halftime, Jose decided to bring on Lamela and move Son up top is baffling to me. I really do not think Tottenham played all that bad in the first half, why switch up the tactics that had you right in the game minus one error at the stroke of halftime? If you have no faith in Vinicius to hold up play at the top as a striker, then why did you bring him over from Benfica in the first place? To play in meaningless FA cup ties against 5th level teams?

Jose’s halftime subs were all wrong, and yes the individual errors cost them the three goals, but to be chasing the game and only register 3 shots on goal is enough for me to be done with this style of play.

Did anyone else hear that Aurier left at halftime due to a fight with Lloris in the locker room? Could be why he didn’t come out to start the second half and the corpse known as Matt Doherty stayed on.
 

Zososoxfan

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Hugo included, Davies was the only member of the defense to not be truly awful today.

This team has not recovered from replacing 2 elite CBs with 0 elite CBs. It's taken some drudgery for him to get there, but I'm honestly also shocked at how good Jose has the goals against record without a reliable RB or above average CB. The offense and watchability does surely suffer for it though.
Credit where it's due, Serge has been pretty damn good this season and I truly didn't think he had it in him. Doherty OTOH, has been dreadful relative to expectations.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Did anyone else hear that Aurier left at halftime due to a fight with Lloris in the locker room? Could be why he didn’t come out to start the second half and the corpse known as Matt Doherty stayed on.
Yeah, my FB is buzzing with this rumor/news...
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Credit where it's due, Serge has been pretty damn good this season and I truly didn't think he had it in him. Doherty OTOH, has been dreadful relative to expectations.
Full credit to Serge there, he has absolutely raised his game to see if the challenge of Doherty, which has unfortunately been a much limper challenge than we’d have hoped for.

I used the word “reliable” for a reason though, even at his best Aurier has not been that.
 

Zososoxfan

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So, are we getting the patented Mourinho meltdown a year ahead of schedule?

I'll reiterate that I don't think Serge has any fault on the first goal. Both he and Rodon were hovering around Mane when the ball over the top was played, Serge had a man out wide (on the strong side at this point) to mark, and he tells/motions Rodon that Mane is his man.
 

SocrManiac

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Here's a view of the goal:

https://streamwo.com/81b5c896
I agree. I don't see how Aurier could have played that much differently. His primary responsibility is Robertson- either cutting him off on a run down the line or closing him down on a direct pass. There was plenty of fault to go around on the play, but I don't see Aurier owning much of it.
 

Zososoxfan

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Here's a view of the goal:

https://streamwo.com/81b5c896
I agree. I don't see how Aurier could have played that much differently. His primary responsibility is Robertson- either cutting him off on a run down the line or closing him down on a direct pass. There was plenty of fault to go around on the play, but I don't see Aurier owning much of it.
After looking at it again, I think Dier is the primary culprit here and Rodon is mostly blameless. Bergy pressures the ball, so Rodon has to step up and mark Milner. Serge is keeping an eye on Robertson, so Mane is not his man. Dier is mostly in position (he needs to be ready to help on Mane, Milner, or Firmino), but he doesn't have the defensive line organized. He and Davies are a yard behind Serge and Rodon. When Hendo plays the ball, Mane is a yard behind Rodon/Serge and Hendo plays the ball wide enough that Dier cannot intercept. This disorganization might be a function of the formation and player selection (i.e. whither Toby), but that's unknowable. But what's truly baffling is once Mane gets possession, Dier looks to his left and sees a charging Firmino, clearly thinks he has the angle covered, and then just lets the ball roll by him because...he thinks Hugo is going to get it?!?? Stupefying stuff.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Dier and Lloris both fucked up big time but the situation shouldn't occur to begin with - if you're playing a low block, you can't have teams easily chipping balls over the top that lead to wingers putting in crosses from the corner of the six yard box.

I think the fault is really shared by Rodon and Mourinho. The problem begins because Kane is too gimpy to get over to pressure the ball, so Henderson has all day to pick the pass and also Bergwijn has to step up and provide some level of pressure. That's on Mourinho for keeping Kane on the pitch, despite the fact that he was obviously limping around. Once Bergwijn steps up, Milner and Mane are able to simultaneously force Rodon into a decision about who to cover, almost like an NFL route combination. Then he makes the wrong decision, stepping up toward the less threatening player between the lines rather than tracking the much bigger threat running behind.

I don't know if that was a deliberate tactic to station a player in front of Rodon to suck him in while having another player run behind but I wouldn't be surprised. Liverpool pretty clearly targeted that Mane/Rodon matchup.
 

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Players leaving at half time cannot be good. Kane being injured cannot be good.

The first part doesn't worry me as much. Players getting into it after a crucial bad goal is fine. If Jose, recognizing that Serge is an emotional dude (which is by all accounts very true) just sent him home to cool off, the situation is recoverable. If Serge just left.. that is a bigger problem.

Is it too much for me to hope that losing Kane for a while is the impetus that Jose needs to play Dele? Dele doesn't have the speed of a Bergwijn or Son, but his ability to make creative passes in the counter and pull down and effectively play long balls could be quite useful when the offensive engine is on the sideline.
 

Zososoxfan

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The first part doesn't worry me as much. Players getting into it after a crucial bad goal is fine. If Jose, recognizing that Serge is an emotional dude (which is by all accounts very true) just sent him home to cool off, the situation is recoverable. If Serge just left.. that is a bigger problem.

Is it too much for me to hope that losing Kane for a while is the impetus that Jose needs to play Dele? Dele doesn't have the speed of a Bergwijn or Son, but his ability to make creative passes in the counter and pull down and effectively play long balls could be quite useful when the offensive engine is on the sideline.
I mean sure, I'd love to save whatever there is left of Dele. But I think the bigger picture is crumbling. This team is in danger of missing top 6 unless they right the ship. They have an outside shot at top 4, but that would require a pretty immediate turnaround. Not good times, bad times.
 

Kliq

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Zososoxfan

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Kane, Reguilion, GLC and Dele are all out for tomorrow's match. Jose said that he thinks Kane could return next week, which is great news. GLC is out for at least another month. Serge was back training with team.

https://cartilagefreecaptain.sbnation.com/2021/2/3/22264896/tottenham-hotspur-team-news-chelsea-kane-reguilon-lo-celso-dele-out-aurier-back
Thanks. I didn't realize GLC's injury was so severe. Damn. Seems like Reguilon is also out at least another week.

Worse still, it seems like Reguilon is going to return to Madrid in the summer:

https://www.teamtalk.com/news/reguilon-says-yes-to-real-madrid-return
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I really doubt Madrid buys Reguilon back this summer. They are squeezed for cash due to Covid, really need to improve their attack and want to land Mbappe, and already have both Mendy and Marcelo at LB. With Marcelo going out of contract in summer 2022, that seems pretty clearly the better time to make a call on Reguilon.
 

Zososoxfan

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I really doubt Madrid buys Reguilon back this summer. They are squeezed for cash due to Covid, really need to improve their attack and want to land Mbappe, and already have both Mendy and Marcelo at LB. With Marcelo going out of contract in summer 2022, that seems pretty clearly the better time to make a call on Reguilon.
Granted I haven't watched much Real this year, but Marcelo was washed up LAST year. Not sure if Mendy's been good, but last year he was middling. It was pretty shocking to me that they shipped us Reggie while keeping both of those guys, when Reggie was named best LB in La Liga last year while on loan at Sevilla. But as you said, maybe it's a cash flow issue.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Granted I haven't watched much Real this year, but Marcelo was washed up LAST year. Not sure if Mendy's been good, but last year he was middling. It was pretty shocking to me that they shipped us Reggie while keeping both of those guys, when Reggie was named best LB in La Liga last year while on loan at Sevilla. But as you said, maybe it's a cash flow issue.
I have only watched Mendy a few times but it definitely seems possible that Reguilon is the better player. But everything suggests they are going to have limited resources to spend this summer (they are projecting a 300m euro hit to revenues for 20-21 due to Covid!), Perez clearly wants to make a big splash in attack, and they're image conscious enough that I can't see them spending a lot of their summer transfer kitty to bring back an academy player at a loss that they just parted ways with last summer. Marcelo also makes like 300k a week by many accounts and the number of clubs willing to take that problem off their hands is almost certainly zero, so everything just kind of adds up to letting his deal expire after next year and then looking to potentially bring back Reguilon in summer 2022 when funds are flowing more freely and they have a better handle on whether he is truly the player they want long term in that position.
 

coremiller

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I have only watched Mendy a few times but it definitely seems possible that Reguilon is the better player. But everything suggests they are going to have limited resources to spend this summer (they are projecting a 300m euro hit to revenues for 20-21 due to Covid!), Perez clearly wants to make a big splash in attack, and they're image conscious enough that I can't see them spending a lot of their summer transfer kitty to bring back an academy player at a loss that they just parted ways with last summer. Marcelo also makes like 300k a week by many accounts and the number of clubs willing to take that problem off their hands is almost certainly zero, so everything just kind of adds up to letting his deal expire after next year and then looking to potentially bring back Reguilon in summer 2022 when funds are flowing more freely and they have a better handle on whether he is truly the player they want long term in that position.
Agree. According to reports the buyback clause is for 15m euros more than Spurs paid last summer, which was reported as 30m euros. Hard to see Real Madrid spending 45m to buy back a player they weren't interested in keeping a year ago.
 

Zososoxfan

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I have just a smidge of sympathy for Mou. Any manager would have trouble with Kane, Reggie, and GLC out. However, this is so much worse than it should be. Completely bereft of ideas in possession, not organized in defense. Today's the first day I legitimately think Mou will not be back for next season.
 

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What a relief of a win, although I almost had a heart attack when Kane briefly went down clutching his ankle in the 1st half.

Kane could have scored a couple more and Son finally broke through. But I was most (pleasantly) surprised by how energetic Lamela and Moura were. Having an extra midfielder really helped to get the ball to the talented front-third, IMHO.

Sure, WBA is at the bottom of the table but 3 points are 3 points!
 

Zososoxfan

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What a relief of a win, although I almost had a heart attack when Kane briefly went down clutching his ankle in the 1st half.

Kane could have scored a couple more and Son finally broke through. But I was most (pleasantly) surprised by how energetic Lamela and Moura were. Having an extra midfielder really helped to get the ball to the talented front-third, IMHO.

Sure, WBA is at the bottom of the table but 3 points are 3 points!
Right. As my friend said, it's a shame we can't play WBA every week. More seriously, it was just nice to see Spurs throw numbers forward and get on the front foot. Kane was rusty but in the end he broke the ice. Hoj is just absolutely incredible. Moura may be limited with his vision, but his dribbling is quite destabilizing for opponents. Toby proved he's by far the most important CB.

And now a gauntlet begins:

Weds 10/02: @Everton, FA Cup
Sat 13/02: @MANC, EPL
Thurs 18/02: @Wolfsberger, UEL
Sun 21/02: @WHU, EPL
Weds 24/02: vs. Wolfsberger, UEL
 

Zososoxfan

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Right. As my friend said, it's a shame we can't play WBA every week. More seriously, it was just nice to see Spurs throw numbers forward and get on the front foot. Kane was rusty but in the end he broke the ice. Hoj is just absolutely incredible. Moura may be limited with his vision, but his dribbling is quite destabilizing for opponents. Toby proved he's by far the most important CB.

And now a gauntlet begins:

Weds 10/02: @Everton, FA Cup
Sat 13/02: @MANC, EPL
Thurs 18/02: @Wolfsberger, UEL
Sun 21/02: @WHU, EPL
Weds 24/02: vs. Wolfsberger, UEL
Weds 10/02: @Everton, FA Cup - LOSS
Sat 13/02: @MANC, EPL - LOSS
Thurs 18/02: @Wolfsberger, UEL - WIN
Sun 21/02: @WHU, EPL - LOSS
Weds 24/02: vs. Wolfsberger, UEL - TBD

39044
 

Kliq

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Spurs are just a chore to watch right now. Jose threw the team under the bus in typical Jose fashion. Everything is so predictable with this guy.

https://cartilagefreecaptain.sbnation.com/2021/2/21/22294106/tottenham-hotspur-jose-mourinho-west-ham-loss-player-criticism
The excuses I hear for Jose is that this is the same underperforming group of players with Poch, and that no manager would be able to have success with this group. The problem is that isn't true. Poch didn't have Reguilon, Doherty, a healthy GLC and Ndombele, Garreth Bale, Steven Bergwijn, Hojbjerg. There is some significant difference in the team, and the main problem I see week-in-and-week-out is puzzling squad selection and a losing strategy that involves conceding possession to inferior teams and putting limited offensive talent on the field, while alienating some of your better attacking players.
 

Kliq

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Disclaimer: this post is made in the spirit of banter. There is no malice or I told you so intended, just humor

Glad to see you have come around:http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/week-10-infects-with-zaha.32094/post-4184030
Tottenham were a completely different team at the start of the season. There is no denying they were a genuinely attacking team during the first two months of the season. At some point, Jose found it prudent to change how the team set up, started tinkering with the backline (particularly the FBs) and their style changed. Teams also caught on to the main strategy of Kane picking up the ball and hitting a long pass to Son, which was always going to have a limited shelf life and Jose hasn't found any other way to create chances.
 

DJnVa

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Tottenham were a completely different team at the start of the season. There is no denying they were a genuinely attacking team during the first two months of the season. At some point, Jose found it prudent to change how the team set up, started tinkering with the backline (particularly the FBs) and their style changed. Teams also caught on to the main strategy of Kane picking up the ball and hitting a long pass to Son, which was always going to have a limited shelf life and Jose hasn't found any other way to create chances.
Blowing that 3-0 lead in last 10 minutes against West Ham changed everything. Jose reacted by bunkering, and the areas on the team with the most pure talent withered.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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The problem with the team that I think has been consistent since the High Poche years are that the CBs are no longer good enough to play a high-line, attacking style without making huge dopey errors and they are also not good enough to bunker without making huge dopey errors. Spurs have gone from 2 foundational pieces in the back to 0 as the Belgians aged out and none of the replacements developed enough to maintain levels. Dier is okay but not great, while Sanchez is similar but with the added problem of not being good judging the flight of a ball, which is maybe the most important defensive and offensive CB skill.
 

Kliq

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The problem with the team that I think has been consistent since the High Poche years are that the CBs are no longer good enough to play a high-line, attacking style without making huge dopey errors and they are also not good enough to bunker without making huge dopey errors. Spurs have gone from 2 foundational pieces in the back to 0 as the Belgians aged out and none of the replacements developed enough to maintain levels. Dier is okay but not great, while Sanchez is similar but with the added problem of not being good judging the flight of a ball, which is maybe the most important defensive and offensive CB skill.
I'm not writing off Alderweireld; I think anytime he isn't in the lineup it is a big mistake. Jose is infatuated by Dier's Portuguese background so he is first on the team sheet.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Toby could still do a job I think, but he's aged out of the VVD/Dias "upon this rock I shall build my church" zone that both he and Vertonghen were in at their peaks.
 

Zososoxfan

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The talk about weak CBs is fair, but misses the point. Everyone describes Mourinho as the ultimate pragmatist, but I don't think that's true this season and rather he's a stodgy defensive-minded manager.

To wit, clubs ahead of Spurs in the table and a quick assessment of their CBs relative to ours:

MANC. Better.
MANU. Maguire better than anyone at Spurs, after that comparable.
LCFC. Soyuncu is a stud, not sure about Fofana or others.
WHU. Not obviously better, worth a closer look.
Chelsea. Better.
Liverpool. Better, but they're dead ATM.
Everton. Likely better.
Villa. Not obviously better, worth a closer look.

GA standings:
MANC
Chelsea
Arsenal (!)
Villa (-2 MP relative to Spurs)
Spurs
LCFC
WHU
...
United
Everton
Liverpool

So Spurs are overall pretty stingy on defense despite the fact that we mostly agree the CBs aren't as good as the rest of the squad. OK, but the real story is goals forward.

Spurs are 10th (!) in GF with 37. Behind Leeds, WHU, Everton, and Villa. I wouldn't trade our attackers for any of those clubs' (maaaaybe Everton if I squint).

So what this data tells me is that Spurs are pretty damn good at keeping the ball out of the net despite the weakness at CB, but that the club is scoring well below where we would expect them to based on the talent. Even aside from Kane and Son who I think are universally regarded as elite attackers, Bergy, Dele, and Lucas round out what should be a very good attack unit, not to mention high risk high reward Bale and elite shithouser and occasional AMF/LW Lamela. Vinicius should be a good enough backup striker too!

So after Mou and Spurs get off to the hot start on the strength of the Kane-Son 1-2 counter, then regress to the mean with some stodgy draws after being overly conservative, Mou finally starts to open it up these last few matches but he's not astute enough to create chances to paper over the mistake-prone defense. And while Mou gets plenty of my ire, the players deserve blame too as the finishing yesterday and at other times have been dreadful.

TL;DR: Mourinho is said to be a pragmatist, but he was very slow in opening up Spurs' play to take advantage of his attacking unit and hide his defense. Sometimes Spurs create chances and just don't finish, and at other times Mou doesn't have a plan to break down an organized defense. And he's still a smug misogynistic asshole. I hope he wins a cup and gets sacked over the summer (unlikely both things would transpire) or gets sacked at some point next year if it allows for the needed transition.
 

teddykgb

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The talk about weak CBs is fair, but misses the point. Everyone describes Mourinho as the ultimate pragmatist, but I don't think that's true this season and rather he's a stodgy defensive-minded manager.

To wit, clubs ahead of Spurs in the table and a quick assessment of their CBs relative to ours:

MANC. Better.
MANU. Maguire better than anyone at Spurs, after that comparable.
LCFC. Soyuncu is a stud, not sure about Fofana or others.
WHU. Not obviously better, worth a closer look.
Chelsea. Better.
Liverpool. Better, but they're dead ATM.
Everton. Likely better.
Villa. Not obviously better, worth a closer look.

GA standings:
MANC
Chelsea
Arsenal (!)
Villa (-2 MP relative to Spurs)
Spurs
LCFC
WHU
...
United
Everton
Liverpool

So Spurs are overall pretty stingy on defense despite the fact that we mostly agree the CBs aren't as good as the rest of the squad. OK, but the real story is goals forward.

Spurs are 10th (!) in GF with 37. Behind Leeds, WHU, Everton, and Villa. I wouldn't trade our attackers for any of those clubs' (maaaaybe Everton if I squint).

So what this data tells me is that Spurs are pretty damn good at keeping the ball out of the net despite the weakness at CB, but that the club is scoring well below where we would expect them to based on the talent. Even aside from Kane and Son who I think are universally regarded as elite attackers, Bergy, Dele, and Lucas round out what should be a very good attack unit, not to mention high risk high reward Bale and elite shithouser and occasional AMF/LW Lamela. Vinicius should be a good enough backup striker too!

So after Mou and Spurs get off to the hot start on the strength of the Kane-Son 1-2 counter, then regress to the mean with some stodgy draws after being overly conservative, Mou finally starts to open it up these last few matches but he's not astute enough to create chances to paper over the mistake-prone defense. And while Mou gets plenty of my ire, the players deserve blame too as the finishing yesterday and at other times have been dreadful.

TL;DR: Mourinho is said to be a pragmatist, but he was very slow in opening up Spurs' play to take advantage of his attacking unit and hide his defense. Sometimes Spurs create chances and just don't finish, and at other times Mou doesn't have a plan to break down an organized defense. And he's still a smug misogynistic asshole. I hope he wins a cup and gets sacked over the summer (unlikely both things would transpire) or gets sacked at some point next year if it allows for the needed transition.
I just think Mourinho hasn’t adapted. He’s always wanted as many strong 6 footers he could find with a couple tricky players he could leave forward and ask to create. I do t think his teams have ever had an attacking identity that wasn’t “give ball to great player and pray”. He’s always preferred to be defensively solid and take advantage of teams who get frustrated and overcommit.

But football, especially in England, has changed. Defenders are no longer just lumbering walking turnovers. Many can play the ball and pass. Modern fullbacks are incredible athletes with ridiculousbstamina and again ball skills. What he’s asking of his isolated attackers is far more difficult than it was a decadeor more ago. Teams are far more likely and adept at pressing after they lose the ball and having the stamina to recover their shape. The pass out from his holding mids is far more likely to be challenged with today’s high lines and it invites the pressure right back onto his team. He just doesn’t value possession enough for the modern game. He doesn’t have to become Pep but nobody is winning across Europe sitting off and trying to snipe you on the counter. Atletico has had some success but even they tend to press and try to win the ball back quickly. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Hojberg, Dier, Sissokobut the top teams these days play only one or zero players like that.

So for me it’s not just freedom but structure and working on transitions. It’s surely ok to be on the defensive side but the speed of the game means he needs (imo) to adapt to using more technical players who are well drilled in supporting teammates to get out of their own end at pace and with options. I was always down on Ndombele because he’s really one footed but it’s baffling to me that he isn’t a regular solely for his ability to beat a man on the dribble and provide a platform to build an attack on.

The only alternative is to buy otherworldly players like Di Maria and Ronaldo or Hazard and trust that they can win the 2 v 1 battles his attackers often find themselves in. That Lamela/Lucas/Bergwijn trio just aren’t dangerous enough to really stretch defenders away from Kane and Son
 

coremiller

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
4,972
Great job by Levy to sign a player as talented as this Dele kid in the January window. It's taken a few weeks to acclimate him to the squad but he looks like he could be a real keeper. It's too bad Spurs couldn't get the deal done in the summer so they could have him for the whole season.
 

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
15,253
Great job by Levy to sign a player as talented as this Dele kid in the January window. It's taken a few weeks to acclimate him to the squad but he looks like he could be a real keeper. It's too bad Spurs couldn't get the deal done in the summer so they could have him for the whole season.
The dude with the bun, (is it Kale?) also looked good when he came on. Wonder if we will ever see more of him?
 

Zososoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 30, 2009
6,851
South of North
Great job by Levy to sign a player as talented as this Dele kid in the January window. It's taken a few weeks to acclimate him to the squad but he looks like he could be a real keeper. It's too bad Spurs couldn't get the deal done in the summer so they could have him for the whole season.
In before Mourinho takes credit for Dele's good play.