Dare to dream big: Raising the bar under Pochettino

Discussion in 'Featured' started by Craig Emanuel, April 12, 2017.

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  1. Craig Emanuel Member

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    It is a sign of our astonishing progress that for the second season running we are in the title race - playing catch up again but for the first time in my lifetime, Spurs are challenging for the league title. It looks once again like we'll fall just short but that shouldn't detract from the scale of what we're achieving under Mauricio Pochettino on a limited budget compared to our rivals and how far we've come over the past decade.

    In the early days of the Premier League, we were firmly a mid-table team, with any real excitement confined to the cup competitions. We loosely flirted with relegation a couple of times but never seriously looked like losing our top flight status. The only European adventures we could dream of were in the UEFA Cup. Champions League wasn't even a pipe dream, partly because there were fewer qualifying births. Until Premier League season 2001/02, the "top four trophy" never existed and even when it did come into existence, Spurs weren't really in the mix for qualification.

    Under the tutelage of Martin Jol, we started aspiring to achieve a top four spot and, bar a dodgy lasagne on the eve of the final day of season 2005/06, we would have got it. Thereafter it was the holy grail for many years and, as the likes of Bale and Modric flourished, we finally got there under Harry Redknapp courtesy of a Crouchy header at the Etihad in 2009/10.

    At the time, like us, Manchester City had never occupied a place at Europe's top table (since the formation of the Champions League in 1992) but with the money being ploughed into the club from the Middle East it appeared only a matter of time. For us, I saw it as what could be a one-off opportunity before City cemented their top four status alongside Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United with Liverpool not too far behind. The door was closing.

    However, since then we have continued to compete and confound expectations - finishing fourth again in 2012, only to miss out due to Chelsea's highly fortuitous victory in the Champions League, and then again last season, when we finished third (I'm still calling it "effective second"), which for the first time ensured our automatic qualification (with no need to play any Young Boys first).

    This season we once again sit second and look to set to achieve consecutive qualifications for the first time. We're now four points off our highest ever points total in the Premier League (72) with seven games still to play; seven points better off than at the same stage last season. It's continual progress and under Pochettino we look capable of establishing ourselves as a regular in Europe's elite competition.

    You know all of this already of course - like me, you've lived it and breathed it. But what we don't do often enough amid the chaos of non-stop fixtures and the manic 24/7 news cycle is take stock.

    Since Pochettino's arrival, the narrative around the club has shifted. He has not limited our ambitions to fourth spot, but dared us to dream about loftier heights. Aim for fourth and you might get it, or you might fall just short and end in fifth or sixth. Between our first qualification for the Champions League and last season, we had finished 5th, 4th, 5th, 6th and 5th (in Poch's first season in charge). Pochettino has changed the mentality at the club - not merely accepting fourth place as the high bar, but challenging his players to match his own ambitions. We now go toe-to-toe with every team in the country. We no longer raise our game for the big matches; we compete at that level EVERY week, whether we're playing Chelsea or Watford. And this mentality will hopefully convince our rising stars that they do not need to leave the club to win trophies and compete with the very best. Tottenham Hotspur is the place to be.

    We're the only club to have competed for the Premier League title both this season and last. In fact, without Spurs there would have been no meaningful title race since season 2014/15.

    If we can keep hold of our manager, I'm convinced that the club will continue to flourish - we will aim for the very top and with a bit of luck we might just achieve something incredibly special. If not, then it won't be through lack of ambition. Audere Est Facere. #COYS

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  3. CharlesCrawford New Member

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    Ahem ... berths!

    The mind boggles at where we'd be now had we not had Dembele banned at the start of the season for so long, and then Lamela out all season. Only two more wins instead of draws and that Chelsea gap is far less annoying
  4. S-P Guest

    If only someone had closed Pedro down at Stamford Bridge!!!
  5. Big fran Guest

    Very good article on sky sports today that highlights what I've said for a while now that Leicester last term and Chelsea this so far have been blessed with an almost injury free campaign whereas we have been hit hard. Last year vertonghen for a good spell and this year Toby. Dembele here and there over both seasons and lamela been almost a complete right off this time around. Think Kane has had three good spells out but interestingly we have performed well without him over his two periods of absence in our pursuit of Chelsea. It is when the partnership of out two Belgian center halves has been broken our win rate dips below 50% considerably and this shows an area that needs to be addressed and strengthening next time round. For me dier lacks a yard and mobility to play at the back with his best position being that of a no 4 facing up play rather than being turned. He's been exceptional last two matches as he was for club and country 12 months ago. Virgil van djke wouldn't be cheap but that would be my first port of call and would inject pace to the back line be it a back four or a three.
    Secondly and most obviously a CF will more than likely be added if Vincent doesn't quickly start producing but where you find one is a million dollar question.
    Barkley has been mentioned as a potential target but how you fit him in before the inform no 10s of eriksen and Alli is impossible unless he's at a knockdown price and willing to fight for game time.
    Zaha is a story that has legs he's shown greater maturity,work rate and end product on his return to palace and with lamela, njie and possibly nkoudou shoe ins to be moved on if not sissoko too a winger is certainly a position that needs filling.
    Lastly the young kid at Fulham at only 16 yes sessagnon needs to be snapped up he really is frightening and although primarily a left back he could certainly progress further up as a young kid called Bale once did.
    If we had been stronger in these areas who knows what could have happened is anyone's guess but an easier question to answer is this. Where would Chelsea have been this time of season had Costa missed two chunks of the season, if Alonso was injured right now, had kante had spells out as dembele has or a centre half here or there had been missing. ?? Probably struggling for top four. If you can't be good be lucky the saying goes..
  6. Craig Emanuel Member

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    I think the reality is that we were quite lucky with injuries last season with Jan our only "long term" absentee (around 2 months), but this season has been entirely different. Also a sign of how we have improved, accumulating more points despite more injuries. Both Leicester and Chelsea were fortunate in that regard in the two respective seasons - probably no coincidence that their schedules were lighter with no European football, hence longer recovery times and less chance of injury.

    I don't think Chelsea are any better than us or any more deserving of the PL title (as some pundits / journos like to trot out). With a comparable fixture list and comparable luck with injuries, I agree that we'd be at least neck and neck with them. They do have a deeper squad than us, but it hasn't been tested. Outside of their first choice XI, I can only think of Fabregas and Willian who have made any meaningful contribution. Other than those two, they've had an unchanged team pretty much all season (certainly since they reverted to 3-4-2-1 after getting smashed 3-0 by the scum).

    As always, there are ifs, buts and maybes, but a couple of years ago, we were saying "that has cost us top 4" whereas now we're saying "that has cost us the title". We need to enjoy the ride, appreciate how far we've come and hope that we continue along this trajectory. If we do continue to improve, then the next few years could be pretty special!
    Jerry Shoolbred and burnt like this.
  7. burnt Active Member

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    Having to play our home games at Wembley next season has come at such a bad time tho , hasn't it ... Look who knows how it will turn out but it's certainly not ideal ....

    Enjoy it while it lasts I say because you can never tell what's going to happen in future ... Not being negative but if our players were getting paid what they'd be earning at other top clubs I'd rest a bit easier , in terms of keeping them at the club ... All these new contracts over the last year or so are all well and good but we all know contracts aren't worth a toss if someone really wants out ... Lingaard singed a 100k + contract in the last week or so with the Mancs , what would Ali , Kane , Toby , etc etc be earning at these clubs ... You can't blame them if their heads end up getting turned over money ... We've got away with murder really in terms of wages and fair play to the money men for that if they get away with it but surely it bites us in the ass at some stage ....

    Another great win last weekend , some great stuff from us at times , they were rubbish once we got the first I know but you still have to go and do it and we,re certainly doing it in style at the moment ... We've built up a real head of steam at this stage , the fixtures have helped for sure but it will be interesting to see now can we use that momentum and confidence to keep it going as the fixtures get more trappy towards the season's end .... There's every reason to be hopeful , that's for sure ... Enjoy it anyways , these are good times ... C.O.Y.S .....
  8. burnt Active Member

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    Wasn't just Dembele missing , all our attacking players started slowly this season , took Ericsson till nearly Christmas to start finding a bit of form , he never stopped trying but it just wasn't happening , Sonny was quite and so was Ali and as for Lamela , well hes Lamela isn't he , lol ....

    Our home form is best in the league this year and if I remember correctly we had too many draws at home last year but one of the best away records , we,ve struggled to get enough wins on the road this year ... One of these years we,ll hopefully but the two together , can't say I'm overly optimistic about it happening next season with this Wembley bollix , but who knows .... C.O.Y.S ....
    Bazza47 likes this.
  9. Craig Emanuel Member

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    Agreed in one respect that Wembley hasn't come at a good time, but on the flip side it's good that we're getting CL revenues at a time when we need to pay for a new stadium. That will certainly help.

    Also agree that our wage structure may hold us back. If we want to keep our best players then we will no doubt need to break our cap. Whether Levy will want to do that remains to be seen. I hope that money isn't the only motivation for our players - I do get the impression that we don't have a bunch of mercenaries like Chelsea for example (who might suddenly decide to stop playing for a season) but maybe I'm just being idyllic. If we do decide to cash in on players then I doubt Poch will stick around so it is vital we try to compete financially and match his ambition.

    As you say, either way, let's just enjoy the ride while it lasts.
    Jerry Shoolbred, Bazza47 and burnt like this.
  10. Bazza47

    Bazza47 Well-Known Member

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    Great post Craig and welcome. We need new bloggers for sure....
    Nomadico and Jerry Shoolbred like this.

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