NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 373
Submitted by Norman Giller
Who would have thought I would be suggesting Tottenham look to women’s tennis for inspiration! Thanks to teen Queen of the courts Emma Raducanu, I have a spring in my step after Spurs had managed to turn my walk into a funeral march with their disappointing, dispirited performance at the Palace.
Emma’s astonishing victory in the US Open got me thinking how Tottenham can learn from her historic triumph (the first Qualifier ever to capture a Grand Slam in the modern era and winning 10 matches without dropping a single set!).
Don’t worry, I’ve not gone completely barking mad (yet). I know you cannot compare an individual sport like tennis with a team game, but there are lessons we can all learn from the remarkable Queen Emma.
Her trump card on top of having a full range of amazing strokes is her single mindedness. Everybody should learn to focus the Raducanu way. In fact she should change her name to RaduCANDO.
She made up her mind that she was going to lift that trophy and nothing was going to get in her way. Tottenham’s players must make up their minds to win that ball … win that challenge … win that match … win the fans over … win, win, win for Tottenham Hotspur.
It’s called the winning mentality and is all in the mind. Spurs lacked belief against Palace and never looked like stretching the 100 per cent three-match run that had taken them to the top of the table.
Let’s be honest, anybody who saw them against Wolves and Watford will know that their position was a false one. Now we are into the world of reality and the challenge against Chelsea next Sunday will be like facing the Eiger after a hill climb.
And around the corner – on Sunday week at the Emirates – there is the North London Derby. I did warn Spurs fans not to laugh too loudly at Arsenal’s false start to the season.
Somehow Nuno Espirito Santo must – here we go with the Raducanu mantra – get them to focus on containing the powerhouse Chelsea attack and hitting them on the break with true Spurs-style counters. Focus Emma style.
This, of course, is easier said than done without the injured Son, Bergwijn and Dier, Harry Kane with his mind still elsewhere, Japhet Tanganga suspended and our South American trio Lo Celso, Romero and Sanchez disorientated by their isolation adventure.
What a test for Nuno’s management skills after a perfect start during which I am sure he could not believe his luck. Now he first of all has to find a way of motivating ‘Our Harry’, who had made up his mind he would not be playing for Tottenham this season. We need the old hungry, enthusiastic Kane back as quickly as possible.
Spurs have a squad dripping with talent. Gil and Romero have yet to properly unveil their skills, Tanguy Ndombélé is an enigma waiting to be solved and latest arrival Emerson Royal showed promise in his debut. It’s not every week he is going to come up against a handful like the perplexing Wilfried Zaha, a duel that our guru Paul H. Smith describes here in his match report from Selhurst Park.
It would help if Lucas Moura was trusted with a role farther upfield to make full use of his dribbling runs that were the few rays of sunshine in a drab display from a Tottenham team that struggled to get out of second gear.
First of all there is the Europa Conference League match against Rennes in France on Thursday, a game that gives Nuno a chance to test some of his fringe players and get them into the Spurs way of doing things. We have yet to discover whether Nuno himself knows what that means.
He can start by getting his players to concentrate the Raducanu way. RaduCANDO!
The fifth week of season eight of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
Who has won six international caps, made his Spurs Premier League debut in a 6-1 away win and with which club did he win a Europa League Cup final medal before joining Tottenham?
Please email your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and make the subject heading Quiz Week 5. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will do my best to respond to all who take part.
The rules are the same as in the previous seven 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. That’s when I become as popular as Sol Campbell in an Arsenal shirt.
This year’s prizes for the champion: A rare out-of-print book 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 2022. Plus a signed copy of My 70 Years of Spurs book and a special bonus prize that I will announce later in the season.
Answer to question 4: “Who was born in Notting Hill, won 35 England caps and against which team did he captain Spurs in a UEFA Cup final victory?”
Alan Mullery, who was skipper of Spurs in their memorable Uefa Cup victory over Wolves in 1972, scoring the trophy-clinching goal in the second leg at White Hart Lane. Mullers was all heart and never gave less than 100 per cent, a true leader of men.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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