And So It Begins
It’s the day of our first pre-season match! Our first glimpse at Are [sic] Boys since Ryan Mason’s Vibes XI twatted Leicester 4-2.
We face Leyton Orient for the JE3 Trophy, in honour of Justin Edinburgh. Justin, our former left-back who then went on to be manager of Orient, died of cardiac arrest aged just 49. You can support the Justin Edinburgh 3 Foundation here.
My initial hope was to watch today’s game and to try to catch a few potential blueprints for the style that Nuno Espírito Santo will introduce this season. However, at his press conference he was keen to separate the fitness work that is currently ongoing, from the tactical work which will follow.
We have to be really careful and how we want to play. Now we have to prepare the players in terms of fitness, in terms of mentality, the focus so then we’ll put our ideas together.
Now it’s about preparing themselves to be able to do whatever comes in situations, to become faster, to become stronger, competitive and intense in every action. Then will come the moment that to deliver our idea, how we’re going to play, the lines of the ball, how we’re going to defend, but we have to be organised and that’s the main point.
These two weeks has been a focus on fitness and we work fitness inside of the game, without separating, so if we want to prepare fitness we have to be intense in our training sessions, inside of the game, but like I said, the players have been great. Fantastic.‘Every word Nuno Espirito Santo said on Harry Kane, transfers, how Tottenham will play and more‘, 16 July 2021
It has been really interesting to watch the pre-season training clips released so far, which are quite markedly different from what I’ve seen at Spurs in the recent past. There is a real focus on drills in which the players are grappling with one another in some way before doing something with the ball. Or, in the most recent clip, tethered to some sort of resistance machine to ensure that they are working harder to achieve the task set out for them.
Some of the ITK suggests that NES found our players too easy to knock off the ball. Even disregarding that — because, let’s face it, it could be complete nonsense — it does seem clear that the coaching team are focussing on adding a base layer of core strength to the players. Nuno’s own words — ‘to become faster, … stronger, competitive and intense’ — imply that perhaps he saw a weakness there. We know from previous reporting that the squad was not in peak condition last season and so this seems like a sensible place to start.
So I am not expecting to see too much in terms of key tactical approaches today, but we might get an idea of intended team shape, and we might see some young players in action, as so many of the first teamers are still away. Nile John seems pretty prominent in the training videos so far — it’d be great to see him play a part in the middle of midfield. And TJ Eyoma, who did so well at Lincoln City last season, has a chance to show how far he has grown as a player on his gap yah.
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