NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 308
Submitted by Norman Giller
When you hear a Spurs team being booed off at the new Lane you realise that the honeymoon for José Mourinho is well and truly over. Yesterday’s 3-2 defeat by a determined and purposeful Wolves side underlined that it is tin hats time at Tottenham as we approach the business end of the season.
I don’t think I am being too dramatic when I say that Wednesday’s fifth round FA Cup home tie against Norwich City is suddenly the most important match of this rollercoaster campaign.
If the Canaries stuff the Cockerel it would be fair to describe Tottenham as being knee-deep in a crisis, much of it of their own making and helped along by a desperate run of injuries to key players.
When Spurs were paired with Norwich in the draw (after a nervy replay victory over Southampton) it looked a good thing on paper for Spurs. But Norwich showed on Friday with their battling 1-0 victory over Leicester City that their anchor place in the Premier League is misleading.
I am going to be watching Wednesday’s game from behind the sofa, with my confidence on the floor and just hoping the Tottenham defence tightens to the type of fortress that Mourinho specialises in building.
There was little sign of the usual defensive discipline and determination expected from a Mourinho team against Wolves. The Molineux men showed great character as they twice came from behind to win an exciting game that tested my blood pressure to the limit.
Our guru Paul H. Smith gives his eyewitness account of the match HERE, and I suggest he takes a stiff drink before covering the Norwich game. It could be a nerve-challenging night.
There was not a lot yesterday to lift us out of our seats, but I was particularly pleased for Serge Aurier when his lethal left foot shot gave Spurs a half-time lead. It silenced the army of assassins who destroy him at every opportunity, never giving him credit and chip, chip, chipping away at his confidence.
His defensives lapses have been magnified, yet I’ve seen him make several vital inter-ceptions that go unnoticed. I could not believe the negative comments being aimed at him on a recent trip to the new Lane. You would have thought he was the enemy. They did their best to wreck Sissoko, and then switched their sniping and sneering to Aurier. And they call themselves supporters.
As he said in a fascinating profile interview in yesterday’s match programme, he sees himself primarily as an attacking player. He recalled that he cried when he was told early in his career that he was better suited to defending because he wanted the glory of scoring goals. Well he certainly enjoyed the glory of his goal against Wolves, a left foot shot (his wrong foot) that could have come from the boot of Gareth Bale.
What mystified me yesterday was the Mourinho decision to send Troy Parrott on as an injury-time substitute. He should surely have been on with at least 20 minutes to go to have a chance of showing what he can do. Yes, Spurs were as sick as a Parrott. Dare Jose pick him on Wednesday? The Canaries, a Parrott playing for the Cockerels. Feathers would be certain to fly. I can hear you giving me the bird.
Now for Norwich and the FA Cup, realistically the last silverware within shooting range of Mourinho’s Tottenham this season. Let’s hope the honeymoon period is revived and lasts all the way to Wembley.
Question No 31 in this 2019-20 SOQL season:
Who started his career at Chelmsford City, played more than 100 matches for Tottenham before being forced by injury to retire at 26. Against which team did he help Spurs win a League Cup final at Wembley ?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL31@normangillerbooks.com.
Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
The rules are the same as in previous seasons. I ask a two-pronged question
with three points at stake. In the closing weeks of the competition I break the
logjam of all-knowing Spurs-history experts with a tie-breaking poser that is
based on opinion rather than fact.
Last week’s SOQL question: Who won 34 England caps, joined Spurs from West Ham and which manager sold him to Man United?
The answer: Michael Carrick, who was reluctantly sold to Man United by jolly Martin Jol. Many of you made the point that Spurs were wrong to sell this exceptional player, but remember that Michael wanted to make the move and has since proved himself Man United red through and through.
This year’s prizes for the champion: a Harry Kane framed and signed photo, two books from my Spurs collection with autographs from Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Dave Mackay, and, most important of all, a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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