NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 344
Submitted by Norman Giller
Thanks to Scotty Parker’s Fulham, Tottenham remain top of the Premier League mountain … and all armchair goalkeepers were put in their place by Spurs boss Jose Mourinho after the frustrating 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The draw somehow felt like a defeat, because there was little doubt that Spurs were the superior side. But Fulham later holding Liverpool to 1-1 at Craven Cottage put the spring back into our step and hope in our hearts for a season-long challenge for the championship.
The keyboard warriors on social media blamed Hugo Lloris for the dropping of two points against a persistent Palace side that thoroughly deserved their share of the spoils. He was unable to hold Eberechi Eze's swerving free-kick from the left. The loose ball was scrambled across the line by Jeffrey Schlupp for an 81st-minute equaliser to cancel out Harry Kane's first-half pot-shot from 22 yards.
As the people sitting at home on their backsides – most of whom have never had to save a shot in their lives – pulled Hugo apart, Mourinho came to his defence.
'My goalkeeper is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League,’ he said at his Press conference, ‘so I would never be critical of the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, period, If I have to blame anybody I have to blame ourselves, the team. The ones that win, the ones that draw and the ones that lose.
'Some guys they have the philosophy of they lost, we drew and I won but that's not us. Us is everything. Everything is about us. At half-time I told the players exactly the opposite that we did in the second half, but if they didn't it was because they couldn't do it.
'It was because they were not able to do it. I give credit to Palace for that. I always say that even if you want to press high, if the ball is in the air you cannot press. There is nothing to press. So they put the ball in the air. They started putting the ball in the box and creating lateral free-kicks and cor-ners and rebounds, so the goal could arrive like it did.
'So we have to blame ourselves for not being able to do what we did in the first half. In the last peri-od of the game a reaction, of course a reaction, a very good reaction and then the goalkeeper made a couple of amazing saves and that's it.’
This is a verbatim quote from Jose, and in his unique style of communicating you can detect why he is considered a master tactician.
Top of the Premier League, Top of the Uefa League qualifying table. The man must be doing something right!
Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith captures the action HERE of a match that you felt Tottenham could easily have won had they not gone into their defensive shell after Our Harry and Sonny had combined to create a goal for the 13th time this season.
But for two world-class saves from Vicente Guaita we would have been celebrating a victory to put us in the right mood for Wednesday’s six pointer against Liverpool at Anfield.
Fulham, played to the tactical plan of Scott Parker and his right hand man Matt Wells – former Spurs coach and grandson of Tottenham legend Cliff Jones. They pressed hard against the champions and had them struggling down the wings, or – as Scotty calls it – ‘the sides of the pitch.’
Liverpool looked vulnerable under pressure, and I hope Jose lets Spurs off the leash in the first-half. Harry and Son could have an (An)field day, Dele Alli actually got off the substitute’s seat in the 84th minute yesterday. Dare Jose risk him for a long period against Liverpool? He is far too good a player to be left warming the bench and you can be sure several major clubs will be trying to prise him away during the January transfer window. I’d love to see him winning silverware this season … with Tottenham.
Stay safe. COYS!
(Have you noticed I have not mentioned that other North London club. Laughing at them could come back to haunt us).
Many of you comment on how you like to see the upcoming fixtures listed here, so I will repeat them here every week as we tick off the matches on the way (fingers crossed) to silverware in what is the Centenary of the 1921 FA Cup win, the Platinum celebration of the 1951 Push and Run title, the Diamond Jubilee of the 1961 Double Year, the Ruby anniversary of Ricky’s ‘Goal of the Century’ in the 1981 FA Cup final triumph, and, of course, the Pearl anniversary of the last time Spurs won the FA Cup in 1991.
These are the fixtures facing Spurs to the end of the year…
Wed 16 Dec Liverpool (away, 8.00, Premier League)
Sun 20 Dec Leicester (home, 2.15, Premier League)
Wed 23 Dec Stoke (away, 5.30, League Cup quarter-final)
Sun 27 Dec Wolves (away, 7.15, Premier League)
Wed 30 Dec Fulham (home, 6.00, Premier League)
Wonder if Spurs will still be top of the mountain after this little lot? If so, we can then start actually having title dreams. Even José might concede we are in the race. Stay safe. COYS!
The 15th week of season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
The rules are the same as in previous seasons. I ask a two-pronged question with three points at stake – two for identifying the player and one for the supplementary question. 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.
This year’s prizes for the champion: a Harry Kane framed and signed photo two, books from my Greavsie 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.
Last week’s SOQL question: Who has won 38 international caps, played for Bayern Munich at 17, was a substitute in a League Cup final against Man United, and what number shirt does he wear for Tottenham?
The answer: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who wears the No 5 shirt and in the blinking of an eye has become a a key man in the Tottenham team With his supercharged energy it seems Spurs sometimes have 12 players on the pitch.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!