Tottenham Focus – A look at Spurs’ start to the season
Frustration may have been the over-riding feeling at Tottenham’s home draw with West Brom on Saturday. The Baggies were confident coming off a 3-0 defeat of Liverpool, the Midlands side were well organised and difficult to break down.
Spurs boss André Villas-Boas only had five weeks before the start of the season to assess his squad and put into place his new regime. The training regime appears considerably changed to the previous managers’. There has been acknowledgement that there would be a concentration on the physical aspect – needed for the high pressing, high defensive line game plan that Villas-Boas wants to use. Arguably again, Spurs worked extremely hard Saturday but tired into the second half, allowing Albion forward and ultimately sitting deeper.
Also Benoit Assou-Ekoto has stated there is much more focus on tactics: "He's [Villas- Boas] cool, he has a different way to work, so we learn different things from him. He's like the son of Mourinho because he used to work with him and he works in the same style. We do a little more tactics at training.” These new practices do not happen overnight but take time to bed in, however in both games the signs been promising.
Spurs dominated the first 60 minutes against West Brom, with some excellent football but failed to capitalise. This should improve once Emmanuel Adebayor is match fit. Signed last week, the Togolese looked rusty – the difference between him and Baggies substitute, a match fit Romelu Lukaku was marked – and this perhaps highlights another reason why Spurs are still settling down. Transfer business is still being conducted in key areas.
The argument might be that Daniel Levy’s hardball stance costs Spurs at the start of the season. Perhaps Levy could compromise more but he probably knows a quality replacement will be needed for Luka Modric and will cost; accordingly Levy needs to get as much as possible for the Croatian. Also on purchases, Levy is trying to buy at the best value possible. The main reason for this may be simple – failure to qualify for the Champions League. Not only did this mean that players Spurs were rumoured to be interested in - Hazard, Kagawa, Cazorla - have all gone to clubs in Champions League, but that the income streams – and purchasing power - are visibly reduced .
Consequently, hard bargaining could be required. These negotiations maybe long as whilst Levy is playing hardball, so is the selling club in the assumption of funds from the Modric and other sales.
There should be some departures and arrivals in the next few days; then Villas-Boas’ work a settled squad should start to bring results. The signs already look to be there.
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