NORMAN GILLERíS SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 243
Submitted by Norman Giller
Letís look on the bright side: Saturdayís match against Liverpool did not serve as the opener to the new stadium, as was originally planned. It would have been like having a house-warming party with only the guests enjoying themselves.
The game featured what was one of the most disillusioning displays in the Mauricio Pochettino era, with self harming mistakes running all the way through a best-forgotten afternoon on the hallowed Wembley turf.
But letís not panic. We must stop whingeing and cling to the belief that this was just another manageable hiccup following the below-par performance at Watford.
Back-to-back defeats is hardly the best confidence booster going into tomorrow's difficult Champions League challenge against Inter Milan in Italy. This will provide a huge test for Pochettinoís motivating powers. He must rebuild self belief and somehow get the Harry Kane goal machine functioning again.
Itís easy to say Harry needs a rest and pick holes in his performance, but even he cannot conjure goals without the ball and he got little service against a vastly improved Liverpool defence.
The first thing Pochettino needs to restore to the Tottenham team is the care and accuracy when in possession that has been an impressive feature of their play in recent seasons.
On Saturday they gave away the ball as if they were a charitable organisation, and many of the Liverpool raids were triggered by loose and clumsy passes from Spurs players.
Yes, Tottenham might easily have come out of this match with a 2-2 draw had the referee awarded an obvious last-minute penalty when Heung-min Son was clearly fouled in the box.
But this must not be allowed to blind us to the fact that by then the Merseysiders could and should have been four or five goals clear. Liverpool might have been hosed and dried long before Tottenhamís late rally but for too many of their strikers greedily going for glory instead of passing to (worryingly) unmarked team-mates.
We would, of course, all feel more comfortable if Hugo Lloris was back on the goal-line, but it looks like his thigh injury is going to keep him out for two or three more weeks.
By the time he returns I hope the shame and scandal of his drinking escapade will have died down, and please donít interpret that as meaning I condone his drink/driving crime. He more than anybody knows he let himself, his club and the game of football down. Tottenham have been lenient in allowing him to keep the captaincy, but he has been punished by the courts and deserves to be left alone to concentrate on being one of the worldís great goalkeepers.
We must not blame his deputy Michel Vorm for Saturdayís set-back. Letís be honest, this is the most potent Liverpool team for at least ten years, perhaps the best from Anfield since the Premier League was launched. They will give most teams a hiding this season, but Tottenham made it much easier for them by their sheer sloppiness.
That would prove suicidal in Milan tomorrow. Time for Generalissimo Pochettino to read the riot act.
Question No 5 in this 2018-19 SOQL season:
Who has 81 international caps, scored for both Arsenal and Spurs in the North London derby, and which London team did he join in 2016?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL5@normangillerbooks.com. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
This yearís prizes for the champion: two books from my Spurs collection with autographs from Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Dave Mackay, and a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion.
There will also be a special bonus prize that I will announce later in the season. I promise itís a collectorís item for anybody who follows the mighty Spurs.
Last week I asked: Who has won 36 international caps, played in the gold medal match in the 2012 London Olympics, and against which club did he score his first goal for Spurs in an FA Cup tie that finished 2-2?
The answer: Lucas Moura, who came on as a late substitute for Brazil in the 2012 London Olympics gold medal match. His scored the first of what I hope will be many goals for Tottenham in last seasonís FA Cup tie at Rochdale.
Thank you for taking part. See you back here same time, same place next week. Keep the faith. COYS!
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