Let’s face it – we all make mistakes. Some make more than others – I should know! However, it is my belief that it takes a mature, honest person to own up to their mistakes and take responsibility for them. On February 18th I wrote an article bemoaning the lack of fight and drive in our team. I questioned Harry and his staff and their powers of motivation. I would now like to hold up my hands and say – “I was wrong.”
I am not looking for people to show me any pity – I know I won’t get any! This great thing is, on this occasion I am glad that I was wrong. As a teacher, I often write in pupil’s books, “Think carefully about what you are writing.” It’s time to follow my own advice.
The aforementioned article was written after the 1-1 draw at Bolton in the FA Cup. The game saw an awful first half performance followed by a much improved second half. Since then there have been numerous performances where the team have battled, shown determination and a whole load of skill. Performances away at Leeds, away to Stoke and most recently in the second half against Fulham, show that this team has a great deal of character.
There are not many teams who go to Stoke and get a point, never mind win. However, we didn’t go there and just battle. We worked our bollocks off and earned the right to play our brand of football. The tactics that day were spot on. The positioning of Crouch at the near post meant Delap’s long throws were frequently repelled without alarm.
At the final whistle, the hugs and high fives showed that the boys really do care. They do have the drive and the will to win – this was something that I mistakenly questioned. This must come from their professional pride but also from the management team who are preparing the players for each game.
As I said earlier, I was wrong to question the motivational skills of ‘Arry and his staff. In the recent games the boys have been up for the fight and seem ready to battle – something which cannot be said of Spurs teams in the past. The players have shown a collective desire to work for each other and the team. We no longer rely on Wilson Palacios to be our sole “enforcer.” Michael Dawson and Sebastian Bassong have been immense. Dawson would be my player of the year and his absence is one of the reasons we lost to Sunderland on Saturday. Add in the determination of Kranjcar, Modric and the outstanding Bale and things look good.
I still stand by my assessment of the first half at Bolton – it was abject. Fortunately, since then it seems as though there has been a change of mindset. The players now seem to realise that they have to work hard and earn the right to play – another thing that Spurs sides of the past haven’t been known for. During the run in to the end of the season this effort and desire will have to be evident in each game. There can be no taking the foot off the pedal as we did in the first half against Fulham (admittedly they also played very well). Fourth place is still there for the taking but it will not be given to us on a plate. We will have to battle for each point as we all know we have a tough run in.
Having said that, our run in is not impossible. The Filth have got injuries, we beat Chelsea at home last year and without Howard Webb we may well have won at Old Trafford! However, I still think that it will come down to the game at Manchester City on May 5th. This is a ground where we have done well in the past and there is no reason to see that not continuing and it being another Glory Glory Night.
During the run in the management have a key role to play. The players shouldn’t need motivating but may need an arm around the shoulder. With the right words, the belief that is currently in the team and with the return of Aaron Lennon on the horizon, I am quietly confident. The run in is going to be exciting, scary and this could be the year where we take that “next step”. However, I have been known to be wrong!