So that is that then. No silverware this year. Crashing out to Basel on penalties was a bit harsh, especially after playing overtime with just ten men. And they did so without arguably their three best players in Lennon, Sandro and Bale. Or Defoe.
And Basel is a good team. Irritating but good. They would all fall over at the whiff of a white shirt but were more than happy to go in studs-up anytime a Spurs player got the ball. And the whole trying to get someone booked was bloody annoying. Very Man U of them. And if that Salah guy had done that hand gesture egging Walker on I’d have nutmegged the guy. But that is me and that’s why I am not playing right back for Tottenham.
But it isn’t all bad. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise. Tottenham have two weeks to get rested fit and ready for a tough run in without distractions and extra games.
Whatever the outcome, and fifth is a very real possibility this year, it should be seen as a good season for Spurs. This isn’t the Spurs of old that would panic and would give up the ghost late in games. Automatically fold to ManU. Manage to balls up the semi-annual Arse defeat. This year, Spurs have taken four points off Man U including beating them at Old Trafford for the first time since Danny Blanchflower was playing or something like that. Tottenham have changed from a team that would give up goals in the last minute to a team that scores them. A team that plays with a system, which when it works is very effective. I haven’t seen a Spurs defence as organized and disciplined in years. When the squad is fit it is one of the best in the world. And I say that without irony.
Andre Villas Boas has quashed those critics this year and he is proving to be the manager Chelsea thought he was going to be. And at 36, if Levy leaves him alone and gives him the support he needs, he could turn into a long term great. I agree with Ledley King, Spurs could win the Premiership in the next three years. And that’s the first time in as long as I can remember, where that is not a laughable concept.
AVB has instilled a steeliness that Spurs have lacked in recent years and a desire to win. While they covered up some poor performances, those last minute goals by Bale and Dembele and Adebayor in the Europa League this year showed that the team has the drive to win. The best managers know that winning engenders confidence. Winning the Europa League was a legitimate goal this year and giving it a good go should be applauded and not criticized by those who think it might end up costing the team champions league spot.
While fifth would not be a disaster, Spurs do need to finish fourth. They get Champions League football the following year, probably keep Bale and can attract the talent needed to move the team forward. Spurs will need to build up their squad somewhat to handle the workload and the other top four teams seem to be able to handle multiple campaigns. By making a good run at the Europa League this year AVB can see how far his team have come and how far they need to go.
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