They’re all danc­ing to Po­chet­tino’s tune

The Citizen (KZN) - - SPORT - Lon­don

– The de­bate about Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s lack of ac­tiv­ity in the last trans­fer win­dow will con­tinue un­til the fi­nal day of the sea­son.

How­ever, there is a case to be made the north Lon­don club’s in­ac­tion may be ac­tu­ally carry more ben­e­fits than first imag­ined.

Eye­brows were raised when Spurs be­came the first Pre­mier League club to make no new sign­ings since the trans­fer win­dow sys­tem was in­tro­duced in 2003, par­tic­u­larly as nine of Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino’s squad played in the semi-fi­nals of the World Cup in Rus­sia.

In­dif­fer­ent per­for­mances dur­ing the open­ing weeks of the cam­paign strength­ened the view that Tot­ten­ham were in dan­ger of los­ing some of the ground they had made on their main ri­vals at the head of the ta­ble, as in­juries and fa­tigue ap­peared to af­fect a num­ber of key play­ers.

Re­sults, though, have im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly over the last six weeks with seven wins in eight matches.

In­deed Spurs travel to face Le­ices­ter City this week­end hav­ing re­claimed third place from Chelsea fol­low­ing a 3-1 vic­tory over Southamp­ton on Wed­nes­day.

“It’s step by step, try to im­prove, to rest and be fresh again be­cause that (Le­ices­ter) will be an­other tough game,” said Po­chet­tino (above).

The odd one out in that se­quence was last Sun­day’s painful north Lon­don derby de­feat to Arse­nal when Spurs squan­dered a 2-1 half-time lead to even­tu­ally lose 4-2.

Po­chet­tino ad­mit­ted tired­ness was a fac­tor, but that re­sult aside Tot­ten­ham have found a way of win­ning games that is due in no small part to the strength and to­geth­er­ness gen­er­ated by a pe­riod of ex­tended sta­bil­ity in­side the dress­ing room.

While other man­agers have strug­gled to blend a chang­ing group of play­ers and deal with clash­ing egos, it has been busi­ness as usual for Po­chet­tino.

Yes, the man­ager voiced his frus­tra­tion at the fail­ure to sign more English play­ers last sum­mer, leav­ing Spurs un­able to name a full squad for the group stages of the Cham­pi­ons League be­cause they didn’t have enough home­grown tal­ent to fill the quota for lo­cally trained play­ers.

The im­me­di­ate af­ter-ef­fects of a gru­elling World Cup cam­paign may have dis­ap­peared from the legs of Po­chet­tino’s English, Bel­gian and French play­ers for a while but there is a clear risk of a fur­ther dip in lev­els as a test­ing sched­ule and the win­ter months take their toll.

A case in point is the in­jury to Eng­land full-back Kieran Trip­pier, who limped off against Southamp­ton in what was his first start since be­ing out with a groin prob­lem.

It helps Po­chet­tino’s cause that with Harry Kane in the side, there is no is­sue about how best to set up Spurs as an at­tack­ing force.

Also, the vastly im­proved form of Moussa Sis­soko has had the ef­fect of sig­nif­i­cantly in­creas­ing his mid­field op­tions. – AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.