Part 6 - £20,000 would have avoided the Lamela fiasco

Spurs Need To Go Mental - Part 6


In Part 5 of the Spurs Need To Go Mental series yesterday I looked at Gareth Bale and our current crop of midfielders who by and large do not have his winning mental attitude.

In this Part 6 of the Spurs Need To Go Mental series I will take a closer look at buying foreign payers and what more we can do to ensure they are a success as well as asking why more players don't have Gareth Bale's attitude.

Everyone, but everyone makes mistakes. Nobody wants to make a mistake, nobody tries to make a mistake, but mistakes happen none the less.


A mistake can be made through a lack of understanding or through poor preparation. When a player makes a wrong decision their is a reason for it, t may be fatigue, it may be mentally turning off, which are preventable with the proper mental preparation and gaining of knowledge, i.e. what is going to happen in any given situation.

The Kyle Naughton 'header' springs immediately to mind recently against Southampton at The Lane. he rushed forward when he was never going to get anywhere near the bounce of the ball and promptly watched it sail over his head allowing the Southampton player to say thank-you and put them 0-1 up.

A manager will tell you you can't legislate for that which is rubbish. You can do mental preparation so a player wouldn't make such a schoolboy error. I would suggest he did it because he didn't know what to do, whether to drop off or not and that comes about by lack of knowledge or being mentally asleep.


Tim Sherwood naturally jumped at the chance to manage a big club but he had no experience, no qualifications and no first hand experience of the current international football climate. He had been working with youth development and it has to be said he was doing an absolutely brilliant job.


£20,000 would have avoided the Lamela fiasco


All Sherwood has had to draw upon is what he has picked up from managers, coaches and players during his playing days. He has continually indicated that he hasn't seen enough of the first team players to know what they can do. That indicates that prior to taking over he didn't see mush of the first team train so he was going into the job blind.

Now I'm not going into the ins and outs of why he was appointed in this article but he was appointed for a reason, which was probably to see if he had it in him to be the long term manager, after he had learnt as a number 2 to an Head Coach.

Etienne Capoue was a case in point, Sherwood had hardly ever seen him but knew Nabil Bentaleb inside out. He knew exactly what he was going to get, he knew he had the right mental approach so he picked him and Bentaleb has gone on to show he was right to do so. Sherwood had to have players he knew understandably and on that score the fact he hasn't been picking Andros Townsend speaks volumes because he knows him very well.

Football in England has been a four team league for many years and we have endeavoured to make it a five team league, now money has made it a six, possibly seven team league. That is where you find the quality football, the rest generally serve up average football that lags behind their European counterparts.

It would be interesting to see a league where all these mid table teams from around Europe played each other. The sides from the other major European nations would I expect come out on top. They are certainly better at young player development overall and they also play a better quality of football.

As it is European countries other than England win International European trophies and World Cups. England, if we are honest, never actually compete in them, we haven't a chance really.

England haven't beaten a top nation in a major tournament since beating Argentina 1-0 in 2002 World Cup. In the 2000 European Championship in Holland and Belgium when we beat Germany 1-0.

Prior to that it was Holland 4-1 at Wembley in the 1996 European Championship Finals and then we have to go way back to 1980 when we beat Spain 2-1 in the European Championship Finals in Italy.

Four defeats of top nations since winning the World Cup in 1966 and only one win against a major nation at a World Cup since. That's pathetic. During that period we had 10 years where we didn't even qualify for anything and today we still lag way behind the rest of the world.

Once again in Brazil this summer we will have no chance whatsoever.


Recent Posts - The Spurs Need To Go Mental Series
Part 4 - Spurs need to assess players better
Part 3 - Spurs players should learn from Harry Kane
Part 2 - The mental shift Spurs must make to be successful
Part 1 - Spurs need to go mental



The Premier League is the most watched league in the world because there are mistakes, there is end to end action full of passion, it is exciting to watch, but that is entirely different from quality football.

To be a successful manager or player you need fire, passion and knowledge. You need a burning fire inside you to be the very best you can possibly be every game and try to improve every day.

You need to have a passion for what you do, you have to totally love it so that it's not work but a pleasure.

You also need knowledge because without it you are lost, everything is pure guesswork which will lead to a multitude of mistakes. You should always be looking to add to your knowledge base and thus improve yourself each day.

I'll turn to Gareth Bale again and his unique double swerving free-kick that bamboozled goalkeepers and left everyone wondering how he did that. Ronaldo was one of the world best from free-kicks but not even he could do that. You have to wonder if it is possible, how it can be achieved and then practice, practice, practice.

He didn't just kick a ball one day and say how did that happen. He had to increase his knowledge, add his fire to improve and his passion to enjoy what he was doing.

How many players at Tottenham have that attitude now? To be videoed falling over blind drunk is inexcusable, as is staggering out of a nightclub into a taxi. That is the culture in this country and it keeps us from achieving any real lasting success.

To totally transform Tottenham into the top team in the land and a force in Europe that culture has to be eradicated and the players who think it's acceptable sold. They do not have the right mental attitude to be winners.

Tim Sherwood was a winner, he won the Premier League with Blackburn and you can see how much winning means to him on the sidelines. Where are the players in that mould on the pitch?

Sherwood has the fire, has the passion but lacks the knowledge and it's not something you can simply pick up overnight, you have to learn from experience what works what doesn't and Tottenham can't wait for that.

The training, methodology and everything that went into the preparation of a footballer, both physical and mental he had was miles behind the rest of Europe. That is however what he is having to rely on.

For Tottenham to achieve lasting success the building blocks have to be laid off the field with every assistance possible to the players, manager and staff. The new training complex with it's medical facilities is a part of that. The structure the club want with a technical director is a part of that.

Daniel Levy recognises England is far behind Europe in terms of preparation and has long sought a foreign model which is alien to the English fan and thus something they are very sceptical of. There is no season at all it shouldn't work if staffed with the right personnel with the right mental attitude to always look to improve themselves and the club.

A new Head Coach is coming in to implement a long term strategy for continued success which will involve a system of playing the club adopts. There will be ups and downs but hopefully continually progressing forward.

The next aspect should be assessing players mentally before buying them. Do they fit in with the mental approach we require, if not, move on look for someone else. Don't make excuses for them, excuses win nothing, excuses improve nothing.


£20,000 would have avoided the Lamela fiasco


Tim Sherwood doesn't make excuses, he holds his hands up and tells it like it is. We need 11 Tim Sherwood's on the field, we have perhaps 5 or 6 in the whole squad.

Until Tottenham get it right off the field with player recruitment, and we do have our successes like Luka Modric, we will forever squander money on players who are not mentally good enough to improve us.

The club has a team of scouts looking at players, but who is 'scouting' technology advances, nutrition and medical advances, who is scouting coaching excellence and who 'scouts' innovation. If the club want to be the best it can be then we have to find the best of the best in every single minute detail and apply it to Tottenham, wherever it is to be found.

It is that attention to detail that has turned English cycling into the strongest in the world, it was that attention to detail that Clive Woodward used to win the Rugby World Cup, it's that attention to detail that Andy Murray used. It is that philosophy that Tottenham must use.

Anything is possible if you believe it is possible, you just have to find a way to achieve it. Tottenham could become the best club side in the world if it truly wanted to. We can qualify for the Champions League regularly, we can win trophies regularly, we can win the league regularly, but we won't if we keep doing what we do now.

We don't have the budget of other clubs and have to cut our cloth but there is no doubt in my mind Daniel Levy has a vision, to get to it is a long road. We keep trying to take the next step and stumbling but there are crucial aspects we are overlooking and what is between each players ears is one of them.

If the mind in sport is everything, and it is, then we must delve deeply into and become world leaders within football, at assessing a player mentally before we buy. The we have to continually work with them to hone it and that will require a coaching team who understand that is part and parcel of coaching as it will require specialists.

If we do that then we will not only get the best players but we will get the players who want to be the best and then we will be the best.

What we must not do is try it the wrong way around. You can only improve a player so much because the player is limited by his own mind, you won't change his mind if he doesn't believe in something. You have to put the pieces together off the field and then buy the players who fit the mental requirements.

If we go out and buy players with the right mindset and then give them to the wrong coaches then we are wasting their time. That's when you hear the excuse he couldn't adapt to the pace of the Premier League or he never fulfilled his potential.

If we want a player to improve we have to give him the best to learn from so all aspects have to be right. Jonathan Woodgate used to have his own personal trainer and physiotherapist, that's someone with a winning mentality wanting to always be the best he can be.


£20,000 would have avoided the Lamela fiasco


Take Erik Lamela or Roberto Soldado or even Paulinho. We have bought 3 players who speak little or no English. Our current coaching staff, not when they were bought I grant you, is Sherwood, Ferdinand, Ramsey, Freund and Parks, four Englishmen and a German. Do you think there might be language difficulties?

What should have happened is we should have employed a local person who spoke their language. They would then help them in all aspects of life and especially away from football. They would help them speak the language, help them with everyday things in the community like shopping, basically help them to integrate and not feel alone and isolated.

Eventually we flew over Lamela's family to help but that was a bit late. We spend £30 million on an asset and then we just dumped them in an environment where they are totally lost, can't communicate and told to get on with it. Quite frankly it's nuts.

The three players combined cost £73 million, could we have not spent £60,000 a year to ensure they were given every assistance possible? Do you not think we would have got more out of them had we looked after them properly?

Something like that doesn't cost the earth, it's just another improvement the club could make in a continual quest to make little improvements. This is what I mean when I talk about every aspect should be looked at and improvements made.

I would probably go so far as saying not spending £60,000 to £90,000 on personal interpreters/assistants has cost us Champions League football. Any local Argentinian, Spanish or Brazilian community should have been sourced and an attempt to integrate them into it via their personal assistant.

They could have settled faster and if they were settled we'd get more out of them on the training ground and on the field. To simply leave it all in the hands of a couple of teammates is archaic.

Of course personal responsibility comes into it and each to varying degrees have let themselves down. There is no reason why Lamela could not have hired someone himself for instance but to the best of my knowledge he hasn't, so he isn't helping himself.

While it helps if everything is put on a plate for him it doesn't have to be, there is no obligation to do it, he should be taking responsibility for his own future. There is blame for his failure this season on all sides. Everyone must learn from it and improve how they deal with these situations.

If we want to consistently challenge for the title and not be one hit wonders, when not if we win it, then simply expecting a genius manager to come in and achieve that is a pipe dream. Put the best off field aspects all in place around him to to help him and if he is someone of Louis Van Gaal's calibre then the rest of the league and the rest of Europe better watch out.

Then new stadiums, new sponsorship, new levels of income and competing on a financial level playing field become easily accessible.

We have to make that mental shift and our next manager must be a Tim Sherwood with knowledge. Tim Sherwood has the potential to be a great manager if and when he adds knowledge to his fire and passion, Daniel Levy saw that, unfortunately he doesn't want to gain that knowledge as a number 2.

Become world leaders at player assessment and mental preparation and we can go places.

This country has the opportunity to transform sport in this country by giving knowledge to every coach in the land but it doesn't. Football could do the same thing and England would be a force in world football again in 20 years but it doesn't.

It is no good Tottenham waiting for someone else to show us how something can be done how something can be achieved, we have a proud history showing other clubs that. Winning the FA Cup as an amateur side, the 'Impossible Double,' winning a major European trophy, signing foreign superstars to shock world football.

Why not lead the world in the mental side of the game, we would be light years ahead of the competition again and a magnet for success.

Tottenham Hotspur - world leaders, yes it has a nice ring to it.

In Part 7 of the Spurs Need To Go Mental series tomorrow night I will suggest Les Ferdinand has to go.


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