I bloody hate supporting Tottenham Hotspur from time to time, not because of the players or the result, but rather the knee-jerking fans that are jumping on the back of the manager because we haven’t picked up nine points from a possible nine this season. The backlash as a result of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City was beyond embarrassing.
Last week it was the booing at full-time following the stalemate with West Bromwich Albion. Spurs didn’t have to wait that long for the fans’ to voice their disappointment, as the likes of Jermain Defoe, Gareth Bale and William Gallas trudged down to the changing room at half-time. As I sat in my seat, taking in what I was hearing, I was bloody appalled by the behaviour of some so-called ‘supporters’.
Yes, the first-half was a disappointment as Spurs struggled to find the creative spark in the middle the pitch and failed to find any cohesion between the midfield and the front-line. Defoe was increasingly isolated on his own, with former Spur Sebastien Bassong and Leon Barnett both dominant when pitted against the pint-sized hit-man, while Bale, Aaron Lennon and Gylfi Sigurdsson were struggling to make any headway in the encounter.
Yes, fans have every right to be maddened about the result yesterday, having spent money on tickets, transport etc., but booing the players, at half-time especially, is hardly going to help matters. Andre Villas-Boas was bought in as Harry Redknapp’s successor, a move that hasn’t gone down well with some of the Spurs faithful.
This was painstakingly evident during the encounter when some fans were thought to be chanting for Redknapp’s return. That isn’t exactly going to help matters now is it? Neither was the booing at half-time, nor full-time.
Back the manager
Wow. The backlash after the game…wow. Some already calling for Villas-Boas to be sacked. Many voicing their concerns about the upcoming. Do you know what? We’ve played three games. That’s right; three. 3. Three. This isn’t the 10th, 20th or 38th game of the season, but the 3rd. After 270 minutes of Premier League football, some sections of Spurs supporters want chairman Daniel Levy to sack a manager that was the most coveted across Europe a little over 12 months ago.
Here is a suggestion; how about backing him and, you know, supporting him? Did any of you really think that Spurs would romp to 5-0 wins against Newcastle, West Brom and Norwich? Is it our god given right to be topping the table this early? No. It was never going to happen. The fortunes of the club weren’t going to change instantaneously, despite what many would have wrongly assumed.
The changes will take time. Villas-Boas has inherited a squad that no longer boasts Ledley King and, following his appointment to an extent, Luka Modric. The players would have been accustomed to Redknapp’s coaching methods, with the youngster more tactically astute than the veteran and for what he is given credit for.
The booing was un-called for. It’s the last thing he needs, especially since he is already coming under copious amounts of pressure following his appointment. The media are doing that enough as it is, let alone fans to add to the weight that has been thrust upon his shoulders. He’s our manager and like any set of supporters, he should be back to the hilt, regardless of whether he is wanted at the club or not.
Ditch the double defensive pivot
At Newcastle, many weren’t surprised to see Sandro and Jake ‘the Enfield Iniesta’ Livermore man the midfield. Villas-Boas needed to bring in some steel to counter-act the influence of both Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye. At home to West Brom, it was perplexing but against Norwich; it simply wasn’t necessary.
Having the duo in the middle of the park stifled the creativity, with the defence often being forced into long balls to Jermain Defoe; hardly the most ideal outlet. Livermore and Sandro sat too deep to really cause any damage through the midfield and as such; Gylfi Sigurdsson often found himself isolated and unable to really make his mark during the encounter.
The half-time introduction of Moussa Dembele meant Spurs had that creative spark they were desperately lacking in the first-half and it paid off 24 minutes after his introduction when the Belgian netted the opener and his debut goal. Away from home, playing two holding midfielders works fine, but at home; it isn’t necessary, with teams travelling to White Hart Lane often looking to stifle the hosts and hit them on the counter rather than looking to attack them.
Gallas isn’t a starter
I like William Gallas. Have done since he signed from Arsenal, regardless of his past. He brings experience and a winning mentality into a squad that is often devoid throughout the squad. But to call him a starter is a bit over the top. He’s a good squad player, but was again ropey against Norwich, with Grant Holt, Simeon Jackson and Steve Morison all comfortably capable of getting the better of the 35-year-old.
He is a great squad member to have around, but he just can’t cut being a starter anymore, especially at his age. He has proven his inadequacies once again this season and as captain, he isn’t much of a leader. It would be wiser for Villas-Boas to recall Michael Dawson or even start Steven Caulker ahead of the Frenchman, who looks to not have the legs on him anymore.
Sitting in the post-match press conference, it was refreshing to hear of Villas-Boas’ honesty. He knows of the fans frustrations and understands the need to pick up three points. He also called for patience until that win comes and he deserves it to make it work. As mentioned, everything isn’t to click into life all at once and it will take time. Let’s give that to him, yeah?
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