Surfing the maturity curve

It’s a cold Wednesday morning, the sun is still hours away from peeking over the horizon and the dog is keen for an early walk. But I’m watching a second re-run of last night's tactical masterclass at the Bernabeau. A triumph for both an increasingly tactically astute manager and a squad increasing comfortable to show disciplined shape and execution for 90 minutes plus. Or at least that’s how I saw it, and how my Madrid born Real supporting mate who I watched the game with saw it.


Oddly the TV and radio pundits seem to be peddling a different line. A line more in keeping with their current obsession, that of hawking our best players and manager to other Champions League clubs. Listening to Steve Mcmanaman on BT Sport who literally sighed with frustration whilst saying ‘thankgoodness Kane headed it straight at Navas’.

The likes of Charlie Adam and Mark Pougatch on 5Live spent most of pre-match disrespecting the Club by talking/laughing openly about how Kane and Pochettino would be gone inside a year or two. The BTSport panel patronising the likes of Winks pre-match.

The disrespect is palpable, and it’s inconsistent. This stuff around Kane in particular is distasteful, it didn’t happen to Gerrard, or Giggs or Scholes even at times when their clubs weren’t performing.

The trouble for the press is that this group of Spurs players responds to this kind of thing - we all remember Eric Dier’s interview about how ‘he didn’t like it when the press calls us soft’ - that was 2015. Pretty sure no-one calls us soft anymore.

Last year the press were packing Dele’s bags to go to this club or that. In the summer it was Dier then Rose, now it’s Kane. Who’s next on the press’s mischief making carousel? Winks? Eriksen? Toby? Hugo? Jan? And therein lines the biggest problem for the press - the club has somewhat by stealth created not just a team but a squad perhaps more than the sum of its parts but definitely with genuine depth.

In the past the predators circled, picked off the best player and we went back in to a cycle of rebuilding. The loss of Carrick and Modric in particular literally caused us to alter our entire pattern of play and took years to recover from. But times are a changing.

The chairman now has a manager he is truly aligned with, players are on long deals and if we sell, as we did with Walker, there’s a toppy fee and a replacement lined up (at profit). Most importantly the manager sanctions (or pushes for) the sale and knows his squad will roll on regardless.

And roll on it has, despite missing a plethora of what you’d describe as nailed on first team starters from last season in Wanyama, Dembele plus the likes of Rose. Last night's result was also secured without Davies, Lamela and Dele. No whining or moaning from Pochettino, he just gets on with it, believes in his group of players and is reaping the rewards of that trust.

So here we are in mid-October, unbeaten away in all competitions, the media inspired ‘Home hoodoo’ dispelled, third in the league and in the midst of a juicy run of fixtures against media darlings Madrid (home and away), Liverpool, United, Arsenal and Dortmund plus derbies against West Ham and Palace.

It’s a big five weeks. But it’s all part of the maturity curve, and we’ve enjoying the ride.

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