November 25, 2012

AVB needs (at least) a year

Pressure is mounting on our manager – not just from the tabloid press, but also from within our fan base.  Whether you didn’t want Redknapp to go (been there, done that), didn’t rate André Villas-Boas’ reign at Chelsea, aren’t impressed with his tactics thus far, aren’t impressed with his perceived “negative substitutions”, etc. etc. etc., in my opinion, is all irrelevant at this point.

We have appointed a manager who is a deep thinker in football terms (I’d insert quips about his notebook here if I was one of the old crones on Soccer Saturday); he is a man who has quite literally made a career of studying opposition teams and coming up with a plan to beat them. He has clear ideas of what he wants to achieve on a match-to-match basis, and makes what he sees as the appropriate adjustments.

Alongside this backdrop of new analysis and tactical tinkering, we have a squad of players who have, effectively, been given the following guidance over the past 3-4 years: “go out and express yourselves”. Now they are being given very specific instructions – sometimes on an opponent-by-opponent basis. These changes in ideology are, logically, going to take significant time to implement. Our players are no longer individuals, expressing themselves however they please (or not, as our January to May run illustrated!) – they are cogs in a machine, and so one player not fulfilling his role can make all the difference.

Not only do our players have this drastic change to cope with in daily training and in match situations, the team has had its heart ripped away. Three of our four best players (King, Modric and van der Vaart) left in the summer, and three of last season’s stars – Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto and Parker – have had medium-to-long-term injuries.

When you combine these issues, the need to turn around six months of awful form under Redknapp (which many seem to conveniently forget) and a lack of fluency as yet on the pitch, it is surprising that, as has been widely documented on many Spurs blogs and forums, we are still (at the time of writing) level on points with last season’s tally thus far (when substituting the promoted teams like for like for comparison, i.e. Championship winners, second place, etc). This despite AVB having a weaker squad and Redknapp having had three years to implement his ideas.

AVB has the full weight of the foamy-mouthed tabloid press on his back (they seem to be totally against him for no apparent reason) and he may be anxious that removing the senior players from the squad too soon could be seen as him making the same mistakes again.

I do not agree with many of his team selections – in fact, I don’t think I’ve fully agreed with one yet – but I can generally see the reasons behind them. I think my biggest criticism of AVB thus far would be his continual selection of William Gallas, who I see as one of the weakest links in our side, whilst Michael Dawson watches from the sidelines. I have also been disheartened by his selection of Friedel over Lloris, who I think encourages pressure with his reactive goalkeeping. But, as mentioned above, given that he was widely-criticised at Chelsea for moving experienced (ageing) players out of the team too quickly, it would be a logical reaction from Villas-Boas – someone who does want to continually learn – to change his approach based on past failings.

There are, absolutely, positives in AVB’s reign so far, and signs of progressive change. For one, we have looked threatening and indeed have scored from set pieces, which is a joy to see in a team who has long struggled in this area. We have also seen the intelligent integration of players from our development squad; rather than just throwing them into a team together, we have seen the likes of Caulker and Carroll brought into otherwise strong selections, and they have flourished as a result. We have also, of course, won away at Old Trafford – I was beginning to lose hope of that happening in my lifetime!

Our manager needs time, and the patience, understanding, and support of our fans. COYS!

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  • Henry P says:

    Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. Yes.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hallelujah!!! Common sense prevails 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Spot on.

  • Anonymous says:

    Good man Windy

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes you are right, think what will happen when we actually buy someone as well

  • Anonymous says:

    YES!

  • Jonas says:

    Good read, I thank you my god sir!

  • Anonymous says:

    Far too much common sense spoken for a certain section of our supporters to appreciate. Seems people want coaches out based on x amount of games and can’t even offer a solution for their impatience.

    Not even a question of giving him x amount of seasons, just let him do what he has to do to reshape the team/squad. Far too many issues with what he’s inherited (key players not quite replaced, replacements not of his own and failing to settle in, injuries etc).

    All about Levy in Jan now.

    ~ Spooky

  • Anonymous says:

    I would agree with every sentiment but we cant afford another chapiomnless season or we will lose our star players. When you are building a team like Rogers you get time when you have the players already its down to you and if you fail you get sacked. This is why Harry got sacked . I give him three games to win or get Klingsman or promote Sherwood and Sir Les

    • Longwell says:

      Harry got sacked because he turned down a contract extension, the team played like garbage for five months, and then he publicly agitated for a pay rise on the back of that collapse. It’s not complicated.

  • Mike says:

    He needs Moutinho or equivalent and keeping Danny Rose as cover for LB and Naughton as cover for RB. However Dawson for Gallas would solve the problem with Vertoghon at LB.

    The team is much better with Adebayor playing. A full strength Spurs could put in a very impressive 2nd half of the season. 4th spot is a definite possibility.

    So only 1 player to buy in January. I wouldn’t buy another forward as Dempsey should improve massively, Ade should be 1st choice and can play well with Defoe if necessary.

    AVB experiment will be very interesting. I’m getting to like his style. It’s like being managed by a computer. Lloris is great for his high defensive line and we’ll have to get used to Hugo sprinting out

  • MrTinkles says:

    Yep, spot on mate!
    Worries me if the rumours were true and that if we’d lost this afternoon, he’d have been gone!

  • Longwell says:

    Well said, Windy. The sense of entitlement that’s set in over the past couple years really chaps my ass. It seems a lot of fans are looking at where we’d like to be and calling that where we ought to be. One cinderella season and a fun Champions League adventure and all of the sudden we’re Billy Bigballs in Europe? It doesn’t work that way. People calling for the manager’s head after all of dozen games should have their own heads examined. Sheer madness. Arrogance and madness.

    It would one thing if the team’s record was horrible and the players were clearly not responding to the manager. I haven’t seen any evidence that’s the case. Villas-Boas has done just fine after inheriting an underperforming squad and having little to no net spend in his first transfer window to reshape it.

    Speaking of investment, Levy has quite rightly recognized that to try to buy our way into a regular place in the Champions League is not viable. Until we can match the gate revenue of the top dogs, we have to approach things differently if we’re going to compete at the top. That means, among other things, more of an emphasis on developing talent in-house. And the early returns there have been promising.

    I’m looking forward to what the rest of the season will bring.

  • Anonymous says:

    Lots of common sense spoken here, I for one hope that AVB is given time but he must get some decent results in the short to medium term or else the media/fan pressure will become too much to bear. If he can get us through this season with a 4th – 6th (hopefully 4th) finish then we should see a dramatic improvement next season

  • Anonymous says:

    Fantastic analysis: you make a load of really good points.

    Only point I differ from you usually is I feel you underestimate Defoe’s strengths at the expense of his weaknesses. On the basis of recent performances I would rate JD (a superb hat trick plus two against the Spam, one of which is a contender for goal of the month at least) over Ade (crazy red card having a lot to do with losing humiliatingly to the filth).

    Some of JD’s critics are so vitriolic I wonder how they are coping as continues to climb the scoring charts.

    Cyril – COYS

  • Mike says:

    Defoe demonstated both sides of the arguement against West Ham. He costs goals that should have been scored and replaces them with goals from nowhere. Spurs look a lot better with Adebayor playing. Start with both of them at home and away Defoe as a late sub

  • Hoopspur says:

    Sense spoken in a world of nonsense once again.

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