I don’t really know what to think about Spurs’ start to the season. So I’ll tell you what I feel.

My enthusiasm from just a month ago has been sucked out of me by a series of performances which have left me wanting a lot more. I feel like I’ve got all excited for a weekend away in an Airbnb somewhere; I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks after these crappy last eighteen months or so but, on arrival, I’ve found that there’s not even a double bed, it’s just two singles pushed together. And there’s a dodgy looking stain on the carpet and a pubic hair in the shower. I’ll be typically English and tell the owner that everything was just fine even though I’m secretly seething and I feel like my precious holiday time that I’ve waited all this time for has been wasted.

When I wrote in Nuno Holy Spirit about how passive Wolves had become in Nuno’s last season, it was meant to be a warning rather than a prediction. We’re so tired, as fans, of our players waiting for the opposition to do something – particularly when, during our best period in recent history, we went out with the intention of not even giving them a second to think about what it was they might do.

Look, there is definitely some logic in being difficult to beat early in the season. Particularly when a new coach is establishing his tactical style and has absentees for a whole variety of reasons. And he’s achieved three wins out of four playing this way, so it can’t be all bad. But then I look over at Bruno Lage at Wolves, or even Patrick Vieira at Crystal Palace, and I see the transformational effect they’ve both had already, totally changing their teams’ styles for the better, and doing so this early and with more complex, detailed tactics (and, frankly, worse players). That is not to say that those two coaches will continue having success throughout the season, but I think it gives us a bit of a benchmark in terms of what tactical progress we might expect by this point.

I think the reality might be that this is Nunoball and maybe we sometimes see a bit of what we saw in the second leg against Paços de Ferreira — a game in which we had complete control so could have some fun — but also we maybe see quite a bit of what we saw against Wolves and Watford and maybe even Crystal Palace. Games where we’re caught between jostling for control and allowing the opposition control but only in the areas we’ll let them have it in.

Personally I think our squad can achieve so much more. I look at what Graham Potter is achieving at Brighton with substantially inferior players and I dream on what he could get us playing like.

But I need to stop myself as longing for Potter or Lage or whoever is just going to make the next however-many-months drag. Instead, I need to see if Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso being back might break the Nunoball mould a bit and deliver something more exciting. So, for now, I’ll try to convince myself to ignore the fact that against Rennes he brought on Pierre-Emile Højbjerg when Steven Bergwijn went off, or — worse — Emerson Royal when Lucas Moura went off.

In theory, the difficult to beat style is the correct one to use against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, so maybe this weekend will be a reminder of the upside of this. Or maybe we’ll concede early and then he’ll have to try something else and we’ll get an idea of what that is (yeah, not optimistic about that).

Either way, the reality is that being a nice bloke is not going to wash with our home crowd for long if the football doesn’t get a bit more front-foot. The pandemic did He Who Must Not Be Named a big favour, and it looks like NES won’t get that same breathing space. Whilst you’re winning you can just about get away with pubic-hair-in-the-shower football, but the second the winning stops, the pressure grows, and we’ll all be a little less English about not complaining.

Come on, Nuno, give us something to cling onto. And if you’e not going to do that, at least give us more Tanguy.

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Join the conversation

  1. I'm with you on a lot of this. He's not really daring to do yet is he?
  2. I'm with you on this. As a Spurs fan for 65 years I have watched the gradual decline over the past three years with increasing frustration and sadness. This is a team on the downslide to the bottom six with little to no attacking flare, an unimaginative manager, players who either don't care or don't want to be there, club spirit at an all time low, weaknesses in the squad everywhere. We have absolutely no hope of beating Chelsea. It could be anywhere from 3-0 to 6-0 it just depends Chelsea have their scoring boots on or not. As a long term supporter it is galling to watch the lack of any kind or pride in the badge, respect or commitment the majority of the team offers. This is arguably the worst Spurs team in the past 20 years. We will battle to stay out of the bottom six this year and I think next season we could well be battling to avoid relegation. Just bloody awful!
  3. I miss the entertaining football that we played under Burkinshaw and Redknapp. It is not really worth paying to watch Spurs at the moment. Seeing a few glimpses of creativity that Tanguy produced gave a little hope, but then so did watching Taarabt for his short time at the club. When you grow up watching Hoddle and Micky Hazard, who were naturally gifted entertainers, watching the current players is a massive drop in skill and creativity. We also had Gascoigne, Waddle, Ginola, Berbatov, all gifted players who added something different. Now it is all about functionalty and sameness. I don't know if the academy is knocking all of the creativity out of players to produce robots, or whether they are only recruiting functional, obedient types. Is there much difference in what Skipp, Harvey White and Harry Winks do on the pitch? You could probably say the same about Tom Carroll, but at least he played the ball forwards and tried to get things happening. Why pay a lot of money for a ticket to boredem? It doesn't make any sense.
  4. I share your pessimism at the minute and as always tried to convince myself the early good start to the season (results wise) was the foundation green shoots of excitement would grow. Alas I think we are in for a tough season. My heart wants more, my head tells me we'll be out of the league Cup midweek after a defeat to cheatski which will put extreme pressure on the NLD. Let's hope a good January transfer window makes for a more proactive team in 2022. COYS
  5. I am trying to keep an open mind re: Nuno as between injuries, Kane saga and the South American quarantine he has been dealt a ridiculously tough hand. But I keep returning to the basics-- and the reality of our play since about January 2019-- now close to 100 league games. Four different coaches-- and a collective points earned that would place us about 6th or 7th in the league at best.... Our talent level is nowhere near the true Top Four-- and if you doubt me I ask everyone to try to answer this simple question. "other than Kane and Son-- whose collective brilliance is certainly matched by sets of attackers on all of those four teams-- name me one Spurs player who would start for ANY of those four teams" Outside of perhaps LLoris-- and it is very debatable re: De Gea or Mendy-- I can't name one. We are at least one level below all four of those teams-- so now we fight Leicester, the Hammers, the Gooners and very possibly Brighton and/or Everton for the dregs of 5th through 7th. Top Four has become a pipe dream.
  6. I'm really trying not to be a doom and gloom merchant but watching Tottenham these days is just soul destroying. I watched the wins against Watford and Wolves with a heavy heart, it was just so negative, this tactic of giving up possession, sucking the oppostition in and hoofing it for our speedsters goes against everything we stand for. The way we have fallen apart against Palace and Chelsea as soon as we have gone one down is frightening. I hoped this new dawn with Nuno and Paratici was going to see us move in a different direction and be a little more progressive in our outlook but this is just a continuation of the garbage Mourinho served up. If the next couple of games go badly I really can't see Nuno lasting the season.


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