Tottenham by Carragher & THBN

Former Liverpool and England defender turned Sky Sports pundit, and he's not bad at it, has been answering questions about Tottenham so I've taken the same questions answered them and discussed some important points he makes.

Tottenham by Carragher & THBN


It's always good to hear an outsiders views and especially a former professional as long as they are happy to express their opinions and not pander to the usual media PR and trot out all the usual easy answers. That smacks of a lack of interest and a lack of homework. I don't accuse Jamie Carragher of that, he and Gary Neville have been excellent additions to Sky Sports coverage.

Question - Has a lack of new signings helped Tottenham so far this season with the club on maximum points?

Carragher Answer - "I think so. A lot of the players they signed last summer with the Gareth Bale money struggled to settle but now that they have had a year’s experience of the club and the Premier League they seem to have kicked on.

"But I think one of the few changes they have made, appointing Maurico Pochettino as manager, can bring the best out of Erik Lamela. He was very effective against QPR last week after a real tough time last season with form and injury and you’d think Pochettino, who is from the same country as Lamela, would really understand the lad’s personality and what makes him tick.

"There have been signs so far this season, too, that Pochettino can take the high-pressing game he adopted at Southampton into Tottenham and make a success of it. I wondered whether Spurs’ very individual attacking players could do it but they showed they could against QPR – although it was less aggressive than we saw at Southampton – and it seems like something the manager will demand from his players all season long if they want to stay in the team.

"I think they have a real shot of the top four but I guess their hopes could depend on how seriously Pochettino takes the Europa League. He didn’t seem too interested with the cups at Southampton and if he takes the same approach at Tottenham and focuses on the Premier League, Champions League football is not out of reach."

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THBN Answer - Continuity has played a minor role in the start this season. The back four has changed, against West Ham Eric Dier, a young 20-year-old fresh to the Premier League was playing at centre-back. He had to be moved to right-back after Kyle Naughton was sent off with a defensive midfielder, Etienne Capoue, moving to centre-back, so a lack of new signings played no part in that victory.

Erik Lamela played 331 minutes of Premier League football last season, only once did he play 90 minutes, only 4 times did he get over 16 minutes. He hasn't had a seasons football to acclimatise to the Premier League, he hasn't been playing it, yet he fired against QPR.

Much has been made of too many players being bought with no experience and them not being able to gel which is largely nonsense. Brendan Rogers certainly doesn't believe it, he has gone out and bought 9 new players. If you have the right manager and the right system the players will quickly adapt, football systems are the same the world over, but if you have a manager who doesn't know how to use high quality players then a club will flounder.

Andre Villas-Boas had a reputation built on one season basically but when asked to make the tough decisions he couldn't do it, he had no ideas how to make a side creative, only difficult to beat. When he lost the senior players in the dressing room and the new signing didn't take to him the writing was on the wall. A happy dressing room is vital and Tottenham was a particularly unhappy dressing room, that had more impact on on field performances than any raft of new signings.

The key is the signing of Mauricio Pochettino. The players love him, they know something is around the corner and can see why they are putting in all the hard work. The first two game have given them a glimpse of the future and boosted their confidence. Having a manger who can take a talented bunch of players and say this is the system that will work best for you as has been the case is the sign of a quality manager.

Not enough has been made of who the manager is, the blame for a lack of success has been put down to players but managers come in different ability levels as well. Sir Alex Ferguson took an ordinary team and won the Premier League with them, take him out the equation and we saw basically the same squad flop. They didn't become poor players over a summer break they took an exceptional manager away.

As Carragher points out Tottenham have attacking individuals that thus far they have not been put into a formation or system where you can get the best out of all of them. Last season we had a system that didn't suit Roberto Soldado, we simply didn't pass to him. We relied on Christian Eriksen finishing the season with the whole side built around him.

Daniel Levy has been searching for a top quality manager, someone with that something extra and in Mauricio Pochettino I believe he has found it, the early indications are encouraging. Pochettino has taken those individual players and put them into a system where they can all excel, they can all have their turn in the limelight. Instead of one roaming creative player, all four attackers can now interchange to find the freedom to express themselves.

Having three creators behind a striker causes enormous problems for an opposition, they can't just mark Eriksen out the game any more, there is Chadli and Lamela to worry about. If the team excels the individuals will excel but if a single individual excels it doesn't mean a team will. That hackneyed old phrase 'you have to earn the right to play' is what Pochettino has added but in his case it's for the front four to earn the right to play not just one star.

Hanging onto a manager who can't get the best out of a group of players for the sake of stability is pointless. Stability is only ever any good if you have the right man in the job, if the manager isn't good enough, no amount of time is going to make any difference. Pochettino has demonstrated so far that you don't need years to sort things out, that players learn quickly in the right environment.

Too early to make a conclusive decision obviously but if he is the right man for the right job he could be here quite a while.



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