Possession With Intent

roguepsi

SC's Sexiest Male™ (retired)
Joined
Jun 21, 2005
Messages
4,388
Thread starter #1
People forget that as a team we are still in our infancy. Last season we took our first steps. This season a lot of people expected us to be running the 100 metres in 9 seconds flat. Well the fact is before we can do that, we need to learn to walk consistently without tripping over. Lately, we've taken a stumble and it has caused great alarm. We have gained a bloody knee but it will heal in time.

Amidst the anger and frustration of 2007 so far, I have quietly sat and contemplated the team and it's frailties. It hasn't been an easy journey. I have sat and watched as many other Spurs fans manifest their frustrations within misguided outbursts aimed at both players and coaching staff. Whilst I understand their need for catharsis, it's often too easy to blame individuals then it is too try to understand that the situation is too complex for that. There will be no single answer but rather a collection of things that the team and management need to work on.

Whilst there isn't a single problem, I think that there is one area that - if shown the necessary improvement - would give the greatest rewards and improvement to the team. I have come to the conclusion that our main weakness is the inability to keep possession of the ball. It might seem like an obvious claim but like most things in life, even the simplest things have many layers of complexity to them. This flaw poses a fundamental problem, especially in the world of modern football. It not only causes us problems in defence, but also undermines our attack. Give the opposition the ball and they will hurt you. You can have the best player in the world, but without the ball there's not a lot they can do. Clearly this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

I think this problem can be associated to (and to a large degree caused by) 3 smaller problem areas:

1) Player quality. Whilst the players we have within our squad are far better then we've had for quite some time, they are still not of sufficient quality to retain the ball individually when under pressure. Berbatov is the exception to this rule. So much so that he also highlights the deficiencies in the players around him in this respect. If we had a couple of players with Berbatov's ability in midfield, we'd be well on the way
to addressing the problem. Having said that, I do think the current playing staff are capable of adapting to cope under such pressure. That is a matter of development and that takes time.

2) Movement. Whilst partially related to 1, even a team of average players can keep the ball if they maintain movement. This means that the opposing defence finds it tricky to mark and apply pressure, even in confined areas. Even basic movement can move defenders out of position allowing better penetration. We, on the other hand, are quite static. We do not create enough gaps in the opposition defence and that would still be a problem even if we got the left winger everyone is crying out for. I couldn't give a reason why we lack this movement but I would hope its not a product of Jol's training methods. I don't even think fitness is the issue. It perhaps more a case of players getting to know how each other plays and gradually making the right runs for one another.

3) Eagerness. We seem to suffer from a very English disease. That is, 'get it up there quick' syndrome. If you watch some of the better teams in the world, they are very patient and are quite happy to play it backwards if it means they retain the ball. We take a much more direct approach by getting the ball as close to the opponents goal as we can and hope something comes of it. Robbo and Dawson being the main culprits here.
I think this may be a result of Jol's obsession with playing an English way in an English league. I do hope he decides to play a Dutch way in an English league. I think the difference could be massive. Then again, this also refers to 1. Does Jol have the players to play the Dutch way?

Now whilst I have mentioned Jol a couple of times in this, I do not think he is necessarily to blame. If anything, I think he is part of the solution. I am certain he has the tools to adapt the team but I think it is more a case of him and the team growing together. It will take time and patience, and the road will not be smooth. The key thing is support through the hard times, not only through the easier times.

For those of us with our eyes on the horizon, we wait in anticipation as we see the running track in the distance. For the short-sighted fans amongst us, I would suggest putting the stop-watch away for now. You have a bloody knee that needs a plaster...
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Messages
18,908
#3
and if wanting the team to play attractive football is short sighted, then i am the most short sighted fan you will ever meet!
 

ravo

SC Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2004
Messages
4,383
#5
Yeah, well said mate. :clap:
I just posted something along those lines on another thread.

It's difficult for a bunch of young, inexperienced (whether it be in senior football or in the premiership, or both) players to get along and win games together without a couple of leaders.

Unfortunately, we no longer have the leaders in King (injured forever) and Davids, and General Carrick has left.

We'll plod through the rest of this season, maybe doing well in the UEFA, then have to look to get some quality in the summer.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2006
Messages
978
#6
Good post. I would however add confidence to the list that you have made as I think we are lacking that in certain areas and so we are not maintaining possession and not showing for the ball with a real desire to receive it. (Movement). Eagerness or going long / forward quickly is also common as it is a low-risk option for players short on confidence especially when others are not really giving the player on the ball a decent option.

We will get out of this little rut but it takes a couple of games to see the back of it and also decent support from the supporters.
 

grittyspur1

Active Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2006
Messages
940
#7
It all starts at Fulham this Sunday. A win would go a long, long way towards lifting the cloud that is hovering over Spurs right now. This is going to be a tough one, and to be honest ,I'd be happy with a draw, but we've got to stop the bleeding. ....(I've had a bad feeling about this season ever since bloody Ivan Campo's goal at the Reebock......!)
COYS!
 
Joined
Apr 24, 2004
Messages
924
#8
We are having a blip, all teams get them. Last season West Ham were doing really well, now look at them. Luckily, we are not doing as badly as they are. We are progressing well in the UEFA and still in FA cup. We are bunched in the middle of the prem but a nice run of wins will push us in the top half. Yes, our away form is a lot crap and should be better, however Carrick being sold was a big step back for us. MJ openly admitted that we were building a team around him...then he goes!

Basically, we came back to the drawing board! The Hudd is gonner be good but is finding his feet, just like Lenny did last season and he just keeps getting better. Zokora is getting a bit of unfair flack. I remember his Ivory Coast team mate Drogba getting the same flack last season....now look at him! Once settled i can see him coming good. He has shown some class, even if its not consistant (but then again who is this season?).

Also i have noticed Berbi getting some attention in the flack dept. and i am glad that someone else (roguepsi) has noticed his value. Yes, he has missed a couple but lets be honest, Defoe has missed more! Defoe was getting man of the match plaundits on here for his performance against Newcastle, which we lost! He had how many shots but didn't go in??!! Thats the problem, have a million shots but if none of them go in, you don't win the match! Berbi has created and laid on great chances for Defoe and Keane (and other members of the team) but they just haven't hit the back of the net like they should.

Soon, all of this will click into place and we will be moving on, but once again, the team has to find its rhythm. Hopefully, there won't be too much activity on the transfer in the summer, a left winger maybe and a couple more. Let the team gel again. Sale of Carrick, the lynchpin of the team set us back. Jol should not be replaced. The fact that we got to a semi final, still in the FA cup and UEFA cup, but not too hot in the premiership..isn't this not a better season than last?? This time last season we had no hope of a cup, just challenging for a champions league place!
 

masterblaster80

Trolling expert
Joined
Jun 8, 2003
Messages
1,014
#9
Good post, totally agree with the sentiment of our lack of movement on the ball, each player seems to want the ball to feet, which makes it easy for the opposition to defend against.

As i said earlier in the season, with Carrick leaving we're looking for one of the other to step up and claim the spot for one of the spine, we lack someone "untouchable" in midfield ala Carrick, and it looks like its one from Huddlestone or Jenas to take over, something that they have failed to do so far. (so far being the key word)
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
955
#10
Well said, agree with most of it. It's up to the 1st team coaching staff to help the players to get their confidence back, and start playing how we all know they can, not an easy thing to do, but i'm sure it will improve, hopefully starting at Fulham.
 

RBlanch

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
196
#11
People forget that as a team we are still in our infancy. Last season we took our first steps. This season a lot of people expected us to be running the 100 metres in 9 seconds flat.
I disagree. There is a very fine line between having a team of exciting future prospects and having a team of overweight / overpaid / injury prone has beens.

I think Keane, Robinson, Mido, Defoe, and King all fit in with atleast one of those each.

How alarming is it that players who were considered youthfull, fit, and exciting last season now struggle to find fitness, form, and most importantly a desire to win.

It seems to me that our whole squad seems to have an air of complacency about them.

Where has it all gone so wrong???
 

worcestersauce

"I'm no optimist I'm just a prisoner of hope
Joined
Jan 23, 2006
Messages
17,448
#12
RBLANCH

It hasn't all gone so wrong, it's just not going very well at the moment.

When we say the team is in it's infancy we mean that it is a new team for example

new players this year:
Chimbonda
Assou-ekotto
Zokora
Malbranque
Berbatov
I won't count Rocha.

New starts this year:
Huddlestone

Half a team never met each other before this year and Steed is only 2 months in playing.

Easiman, I don't agree its actually up to the 1st team coaching staff and the fans to help the players to get their confidence back.
 

RBlanch

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
196
#14
RBLANCH

It hasn't all gone so wrong, it's just not going very well at the moment.

When we say the team is in it's infancy we mean that it is a new team for example

new players this year:
Chimbonda
Assou-ekotto
Zokora
Malbranque
Berbatov
I won't count Rocha.

New starts this year:
Huddlestone

Half a team never met each other before this year and Steed is only 2 months in playing.

Easiman, I don't agree its actually up to the 1st team coaching staff and the fans to help the players to get their confidence back.
Ok, however, do we not change our playing squad every season anyway - last season's squad included many premiership rookies...

Lennon
Stalteri
Lee
Tainio
Mido
Rasiak
Davids
Dawson
Reid
Davenport
Ghaly

and other new boys like

Routledge
Jenas
Murphy

Our performances were held together largely by the players I listed in my original post.....get my point.

It's very easy to say we in a year of transition....it just appears that the transition that has occurred this season has seen us fall back into mid table obscurity!
 
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