Photo by @proroan
It was once a stick to beat us with but Jennifer Annely thinks this team have carved a new reputation.
It’s always Jan Vertonghen’s face that gets me. That moment when the whistle goes during the battle of the bridge and the camera zooms in on Jan, just hurts my soul. It still does, even just thinking about it now makes me feel a bit sick. However, as much as that night hurt then, hindsight has shown that it was possibly the beginning of Tottenham’s story rather than the end. From what I hear, giving birth is rather painful and on that fateful night, we collectively gave birth. Tottenham Hotspur was reborn. So why bring it up now a year later I hear you ask? Well, as much as the last couple of games were marked with individual brilliance (I’m looking at you Christian), they were actually much more about a showcase of who Tottenham are now and the manger who began our rebirth.
Here we are, back at Stamford Bridge and it appeared that it was going to go how it always goes. Thirty minutes in and Chelsea smugly put it in the back of the net. We gave Moses far too much space, Lloris rushes out like Big Bird flapping his wings and we are losing at the Bridge, as per usual. Sigh, here we go again.
Miraculously though, we managed to make something out of nothing. It was a nothing ball. It was going out. Yet Dele chased it down, he didn’t give up and ok, he passed it directly to a Chelsea player, but via Ben Davies it ends up at our Magicians feet. It was audacious and we had no right to it, but there it was 1-1, all square at Stamford Bridge heading into half time. This is very Pochettino from start to finish, never giving up, running your heart out with a little bit of magic on the end. He is magic you know?
From what I hear, giving birth is rather painful and on that fateful night, we collectively gave birth. Tottenham Hotspur was reborn.
As much as the club, this manager and these players have a bond with the fans, we are not the same. They are not weighed down by the pressure that we are. They didn’t go one nil down and lose hope. They didn’t go one nil down and feel the crushing weight of history on them. They went one nil down and got right back to work. This mentality that Poch has instilled shone through immediately after the third goal when instead of celebrating, Eriksen and Lamela yelled at Son for not passing them the ball. They aren’t weighed down by 28 years of history; they want to win this game as much as any other. This legacy isn’t there’s, it’s ours. This team are writing their own story.
If you look at the XG ratings on this game, we weren’t supposed to win. The statistics say that we should’ve edged it, but a 3-1 win was definitely not fair. So what made the difference? Our players wanted it more; our players were committed to the cause. Chelsea’s players looked uninterested and were at times sloppy. Especially when you contrast them with the technical master class that Spurs put on display. The sublime pass from Eric Dier paired with the incredible control from Dele for the second goal was a highlight. But not only that, there is an edge to this Tottenham team from the spiteful play from Lamela and Dele purposefully running over to the Chelsea fans to celebrate, Pochettino has transported Tottenham from a pretty team with a soft belly to one that rolls over for no one, he has helped us evolve from the rabbit to the snake.
They didn’t go one nil down and feel the crushing weight of history on them. They went one nil down and got right back to work.
Fast forward to the Stoke game and inside my head it felt like a game we were ripe to lose. We are undefeated since December, five successive league victories and here we are, up north in the rain. Yup, we are definitely going to lose this. Oh look, one nil down! Told you so. But, thankfully, no one reminded the players that this was a game that Spurs would normally lose. This is a team, who like Pochettino, take it from no one. This team stayed focused against a Stoke team who played like Stoke again – they were tough, they kicked us and Ryan Shawcross spent much of his time trying to wind up Dele. Did it work? Nope.
It didn’t work because Pochettino has changed us into a team that wins. A good example of that mentality is Harry Kane. Harry Kane, by all accounts a lovely guy, family man, and best striker in the world. I really couldn’t care less if the ball went in off him or not. As far as I am concerned, if he said it did, then it did. As much as Liverpool fans want to try to pretend it is shameful, having someone with the will to win and be the best is OK with me. And if we are being really honest, that’s the guy I want playing for my team. Also, Christian Eriksen again showed the team dynamic. He didn’t care that he wouldn’t get the goal; he immediately went out to the media and defended his teammate. This team fights for each other.
We have a team that believes in itself, that can’t be turned over anymore, not away at a top six club and not in the rain up North. Not if they are being kicked, wound up and not even if they actually score the goal. I need to let go of our history and live in this wonderful moment. I’m not quite sure what I’m witnessing, but I do know, lads, this isn’t Tottenham anymore.