If it's stick how do we get back to some resemblance of our former self? We don't. The past is done and this team at its very core needs to be disbanded and reinvented...
Welcome to The Monday Hangover.
So, how do we get out of this mess? How do we survive?
There seems to be two pathways to take. We either stick or twist.
If we stick, then the club unequivocally backs Mauricio Pochettino with supporting the overhaul and replacement of the want-away players. This means spending in January and spending again in the summer – and this time, getting rid of anyone that doesn’t want to be here rather than retaining them for sentimental reasons. Or logistical ones (i.e. not signing replacements beforehand). Get it done and get it done properly. No half-arsed efforts.
Poch started his era at Spurs by removing the deadwood and the troublemakers and the ones that lacked discipline. We go again.
If we twist? Then Daniel Levy has to sack Poch (or agree a settlement) and replace him and seek to get some ilk of new-manager bounce to save this season and allow for a short-term bridge towards a more long term solution. Letting Poch go would probably mean he ends up at Old Trafford. The pay-off for instigating this will be in the tens of millions and knowing Levy, he’d want to be compensated for it. Knowing how desperate United are, they’d pay it.
It’s got to be stick.
If it’s stick how do we get back to some resemblance of our former self? We don’t. The past is done and this team at its very core needs to be disbanded and reinvented, with focus on the new generation. One that still needs to be defined. The likes of Harry Winks a testament to what we need going forward. Players that play with passion and have ability to back it up.
Build around the players that want to be here and not the ones that have ambitions elsewhere (or have simply run out of emotional fuel for the club). Even if this causes more bumps in the road, it’s better to have a destination in mind rather than driving in circles.
The issue we have is the players that need offing. Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen. Perhaps even Danny Rose. We can’t be relying on them to pull us through this sticky moment as they are displaying a lack of urgency in doing just that. That might be harsh on them. But they are muddled and off-key with application on the pitch. To be fair, they all are. And the ones that don’t want to be are impacted by the lack of synergy.
Our away record remains abysmal. Compare it to the peak times under Poch when we hardly lost on our travels. Those times were the personification of togetherness. The best of times when everyone at the club was on the same page. We never gave up, never surrendered and always found a way even if it looked improbable. Tenacious. Physical. We bullied teams. We never lost composure. We always had a plan.
There’s little evidence of that fighting spirit right now – so we have to stop starting players that have a detrimental mentality.
Colchester, Bayern and Brighton showcases that as of right now, the players as a group are fragmented and unable to motivate themselves on the pitch. Off it, they’ve often spoken the right words but actions are all we care about. Moussa Sissoko posted on social media, a message that encapsulates responsibility and awareness. Others did the same. But again, if this is how the squad feel – why are they not translating their emotions onto the pitch? Or are they subtly hinting that they’re being stopped from truly expressing themselves because of the coaching and match-day preparations?
There are whispers and rumours that have been shared in the broadsheets and tabloids and other think piece articles online relating to stagnation of ideas within Hotspur Way. That the players want the change that Pochettino is desperate to implement but both are at odds with each other in terms of how it comes to fruition. There is probably some truth in this but if there are players that refuse to sign contracts and said players are key to the structure of our strongest eleven, we’re stuck looking towards the chairman and the dynamic that (is meant to) exist to facilitate the change in squad personnel.
I guess this is where we go back to considering twist. If the players are simply not responding to the coach then the obvious fix is to replace the coach. This is what everyone does. They reset. Start completely afresh. But this still remains too obvious a choice. If Poch is sincere and genuine about wanting to stay and push towards a new chapter and resolve this mess, then you have to take it as face value. You have to trust him, he deserves that from us.
We’re back at stick again.
We have to back him. That means suffering and possibly even sacrificing this season to go again the next.
What he needs to do is choose the best team for the present and not one that harks to the past. He must settle on a plan, a formation and a sustainable style. New full-backs would help kick-start things. That and a return to the original foundation Poch built: the defence. It’s no longer a unit, just a collection of distant memories.
Poch has momentarily confused his own philosophy. Our pressing game has dropped off since the swarming days of the first three seasons. His own identity is in a state of flux and we are the reflection of that confusion.
Do we (the supporters) have the patience for this? To wait? Does the chairman accept the possibility of not qualifying for the Champions League? Is the immediate short term more important than the next few seasons? If so then the new manager-bounce would be appealing to you.
The fitness of Ryan Sessegnon and Gio Lo Celso will be key to galvanise the teams shape and impetus in transitions from defence to midfield to attack. We have to stop rotating with future games in mind. We can not craft winning momentum if we’re not winning games. Play the best team and let them gather some positive pace. ‘The best’ eleven being the strongest selection of players that WANT to perform for the badge. Regain self-pride and belief.
Every game remains a must win. And we must win.
Here’s a different type of twist to end the article with. What if Poch is waiting to be pushed out? What if the tin foil conspiracy is true? Only the chairman will know this for certain. If the players know this, that might explain why they’re not performing. If…it’s a massive ‘if’…this is true and faith in the relationships between manager and players is dead, then that fee we have to pay to be able to then replace him has to be accepted.
A scenario where things are left to fester could lead to far more damaging culture destroying conclusion and nobody is bigger or more important than the essence of what it means to be Tottenham Hotspur.
We know Levy doesn’t do sentiment. Which means he’ll do what he believes is best for the business, which is or isn’t the best for the club depending on where you stand. The reality is, Pochettino has worked under constraints in terms of transfer budgets over the seasons. This mess is self-made, one the club have not done enough to protect themselves from.
As for Poch and his own quest for peace, if he has lost control he has to stop pretending he has control or that he can regain it. His tone in press conferences and with the media has been prickly for some time. The slight digs at his own players equally so. A new era will take time and I’d rather trust our Argentine than someone new to revitalise and re-energise us. I guess I’m overly loyal. Perhaps that’s misguided.
That potential new coach could instil new ideas and perhaps gain that lost motivation and inspire a much needed change, be it a different direction altogether. After-all, that’s exactly what Poch was when he was appointed. A new direction that resulted in driving towards glorious destination. Almost glorious. The Sat Nav died just after the GPS signal sent us down the wrong route. And now we’re lost.
No matter stick or twist, if you don’t have the patience you’ll have to find some. You’re going to need it regardless of the direction we decide to take.