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The home Straight....

Under our previous manager, we somehow managed to take our foot off the pedal and found ourselves either missing out on the holy grail that is CL or just crept in through a last minute huff and puff and to some degree, because the teams around us couldn't maintain their consistency.

So, here we are for the 4th season in a row find ourselves sitting in that group and with all the issues surrounding the strength in depth, strikers, fatigue and equally importantly, the chasing pack ready to pounce awaiting any slip-ups.

Under the previous regime, concerns were raised re fatigue and the lack of rotation and to a degree, not being able to add that extra quality when it mattered most, namely, the January window. So what is different this time and how better prepared are we to handle the pressure on this home straight?

The obvious differences are that we have a new manager, new tactics, better squad rotation and less said about the striker situation the better! Most of all, I ask have we developed the right mentality, the attributes seen amongst the 'usual top 4 culprits'?

I am not going to mention any statistics as other are more qualified to present those as their argument, i.e., points required, games schedule, injuries, performance of individuals and equally, the approach from AVB.

One thing for sure, you've got be in it to win it!. We have a small cushion over the chasing pack but are we in a better condition and mental/physical state to canter over the line or as is synonymous with Spurs, will it be another nerve racking experience?

Each season we say that the CL qualification is the ultimate objective with a good cup run welcomed along the way. Europa League provides the added challenge/distraction this season. Are we up for it?.......I think so!

Forget the transfer window(! s), forget the striker issue, forget the 1st half of the season. It's how we manage the squad, the mental attitude and how the individuals fight for the cause that will dictate whether this has been a successful season. I am a fan of AVB and I am over awed by his achievement thus far. I believe we have a young, hard working and talented squad who with AVB's management can deliver. Over and out!

Written by Critical_Spur




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The journalist

Writer: Critical_Spur Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 6 2013

Time: 8:30AM

Your Comments

First? I agree with your comments Critical - also when I look at Chelsea, Everton and Scum I think they are more likely to drop points away from home than we are. We seem to be able to find those 1-0 and 2-1 away wins easier than our rivals and that may just get us over the line.
Sebthespur
If only we could forget those failings so easily, Are united 9 points clear because of their squad rotation or because they have strikers who are scoring crucial goals in games to turn draws into victories?
Slurms McKenzie
Sebthesur I remember much dancing on the perceived grave of Arsenal this time last year and we know how that ended. Everton already have the hard working ethic and proper mental attitude for the run in and this season are in a far better position then they normally find themselves. They are a major threat to our top four position. Chelsea and Arsenal are a bit more unpredictable but we need to take points off all three of these teams to ensure we finish withint he top four and keep a wary eye on Liverpool.
Slurms McKenzie
I agree with what you are saying Slurms but when I look at Arsenal going away to somewhere like Wigan or Stoke, I just know there's a chance they are not up for it and they draw or lose. The same with Chelsea. We seem to be able to go to Sunderland or Reading or Southampton and grab a vital three points. This is testament to AVB and his tactical nous.
Sebthespur
I hope our team and management can keep their minds on the jobs to be done over next 3 months.. dual targets of 4th place in PL & final of EL is well within our abilities... Lets get behind the lads and they will respond... COYS..
Block D Spurs
If we can beat Newcastle and IF adebayor can get us at least 5 more goals I believe top 4 is within our reach. Our defence is looking the best out of all the teams around us.
gibbothfc
It's gonna be so close. Any of those teams us included could win 4 games on the spin and put pressure on the others. Wins against the teams around us are vital.
spurspanther
We still have a great chance finishing 3rd the problem last season was more complacency we had a huge gap on 5th so only being a few points ahead this season may keep us on the ball so to speak. Dont get me wrong I would settle for fourth now the Arsenal game will be a huge one this season if we can beat them it puts us in a real great position if we can keep the gap until then.
DSpurs
Everton and arsenal at home. Those two are must wins.
spurspanther
Young and energetic squad could be the key. It's a shame we're missing another striker but the overal squad is good enough. We def have a good chance. Nice article
willfry
it was the same time last year we thumped the toon 5-0 before going on a miserable run of relegation form. think this year has a different flavour, been more of a slow burner. think your right DSpurs complacency definitely took over last year, all the talk of us being better than the goons and the players believing their own hype as well as a manager who wouldnt commit to us until England didnt want him. think the tension could become unbearable in the next few months!
Yorkspur
We need a striker...
TornadoYid
Everton, have got Man Utd, Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool all away from home. And Man City away. That's pretty tough.
spurspanther
I think us Spurs fans will be cheering on United and City in a lot of games over the next couple of months!
Slurms McKenzie
At this stage last season, with 13 more games to go, we had 53 points. We eventually finished 4th with 69 points. That was a pathetic 16 points from 13 games (16 out of a possible 39). We now have 45 points with 13 games to go. Assuming we can repeat 4th place with 69 points, it'll mean us getting 24 from our remaining games (24 out of a possible 39). 8 more than we did last season. Not only must we improve from last season's run in, we must improve significantly. Looking at our remaining fixtures, I don't see why we cannot achieve that target of 24 points from our remaining games, and that is after making allowance even for 2 or 3 defeats. My only worry is an injured Defoe, a tired Adebayor and a Sandroless midfield. Hopefully our failure to sign a striker in January will not cost us a CL place.
hiano
We need more goals from people not called Gareth Bale. In recent matches we seem to have lost a little spark, barring our Welsh Wizard. We can't rely on him dragging us through. I am excited to see what the vibrancy and energy of Holtby does for the rest of the attack as he settles in. Maybe he is the spark to carry us through the last third of the season? I feel Lennon and Dembele need to push on hard and maintain a strorng attacking threat from all areas, it teams can double up on Bale and nullify us, we need the other outlets causing mayhem too! COYS!
Starsky
This is how I see the remaining fixtures panning out 9and this is being pessimistic): Newcastle (Home) 3 pts , West Ham (Away) 1 pt, Arsenal (Home) 1 pt, Liverpool (Away) 0 pts, Fulham (Home) 3 pts, Swansea (Away) 3 pts, Everton (Home) 1 pt, Chelsea (Away)0 pts, Man City (Home) 0 pts, Wigan (Away) 3 pts Southampton (Home) 3 pts, Stoke (Away) 1 pt, Sunderland (Home) 3 pts This would give us a total of 22 points finishing on 67 pts. Of course I am being pessemistic in that I have given both Everton and Arsenal a draw at our place and City a win. We are capable of getting 9 pts in my opinion which if we do I am certain we will secure CL position. Its hames such as SWansea and Wigan away that are going to be equally as important as those big home fictures against the top clubs. Verdict: Its going to be a squeaky bum time as old red nose would put it!
TornadoYid
@Spurspanther Totally agree, these two are HUGE "6 pointers": Everton and arsenal at home. Those two are must wins.
Starsky
Edinburgh Spur - no, I would argue we have the best run in. I have us finishing on 69 points, which believe it or not could see us finish 3rd. Winning at home to Arsenal and Everton are crucial, as that will see us six and seven points ahead of our two rivals. City, Liverpool and Stoke away, as well as West Ham, Swansea and Chelsea away are tricky, but our away form is better than our home form? Everton may not lose games but they draw too many as well. If we keep finding a way to get three points, as we are doing, we will edge away.
Sebthespur
Sorry forgot City was at home - bonus 3 points so we'll ***** it.
Sebthespur
more worrying hiano i think 10 of those points came in the last 4 matches, it was 6 point from 9 games before that. truly appaling form. think we need at least 70 points for top 4, so 25 from 13 games, we have city arsenal and everton at home and chelsea and liverpool away, its in our hands
Yorkspur

There are 7 home games remaining including Arsenal, Everton and Man City, 6 Away games including Liverpool and Chelsea. Arsenal has a much easier run imo so we should never write them off! Maybe a few cracks here and there but they have a really good chance to finish strongly. Everton have the toughest run but again, they have been fairly consistent and are a better team than last year. Those 2 teams are our biggest threat!


Itís all very open at the moment so I agree, instead of bickering about the feking chairman or boardÖletís get behind the club in whole and give our best support. If we go behind in a game, step it up, cheer louder and urge the lads on. For those 90 minutes itís down to us to our best as well as the team on the pitch. And on here or else ware after, letís keep it up! Constructive criticism is fine but come on. So far the fans on here should be in 10th place in the table, and donít deserve to finish in the top4 as far as supporting the coach and each player. Letís turn it around for this Ďhome straití. No more changes are likely to happen until summer so just do whatís best for the team for now.


I wouldnít agree that we have rotated more this year than last, just have used the squad better, some of this down to player availability, some down to AVB himself swapping things around in terms of formations. We seem so much more versatile, before we would have bread and butter formation and a few tweaks here and there. Now, we can reshape the line-up pretty much how it suits us, at the start or during the match. With the reaming games and EL we might be able to rotate a little more moving onwards.


Anther positive amongst all the changes behind the scenes, the players are continuing developing their own games. Bale under maybe even better guidance this term is learning to stun teams by drifting inside (this is how defenders were dealing with him before, pushing him inside) now they will have to re-think because pushing him inside will not be as effective anymore. Lennon seems to have found another gear and being one of the senior members has matured his game. I could go on about the other playersÖbut generally we are learning to be better all-around which is a good thing, and we need to continue on that path.


There is a long way to go but letís take it a game at a time and we will be right up there Iím sure. Any team can win on the day with any of our fixtures! Looking forward to the toon match, and hopefully some revenge ha! COYS.

SpursOne2
The run in,legs tight grit teeth clench fists and hope harry does not give or talk to any spurs players about tactics and run ins !come on the mighty spurs nail it, 3 rd that is.
Little spur
Much as I admire what AVB has achieved so far, much as I want to be optimistic like those above, much as I want us to succeed I am still doubtful that we will finish top4. Our habit of starting games as if the players had just got out of bed, and the lack of a real striker on form gives me doubts. If Ade can wake up and Holtby can inject some activity into our offensive play then we have a chance, but I feel at the moment other teams are showing more desire than us.
Harry-Kari
If only we can show the mentality and dogged determination we showed against the 2 Manu U games, the task of top-4 would be a lot easier. Away we battled to hang to a win and at home we fought 'til the end to get a result. It's that imo what is missing CONSISTENTLY. All this poor 1st half needs to stop. With no MAJOR changes to the aquad (no disrespect to Holby), it is now down to AVB's management skills to move the team to the next level. A different ball game. Jockeying for position keeps us in the mix. Hope we don't do it the Spurs way! ...then again, as long as we do it, I would be ecstatic!..COYS!
Critical_Spur
also if you look at corresponding fixtures from last year i make it we are 6 points better off this season
Yorkspur
Arsenal have 6 home games and 7 away whilst we have the reverse. However they only have to play ManU, Everton and us of the big clubs whereas we have to play them, Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea and ManC. We will have to win at least 3, including Arsenal, against those teams at the very least. It will be a tough run home. However our last 4 games are all against mid table or lower teams so if we are even or a point ahead after the ManC game we should be very optimistic!
jvd
Hopefully Benitez will hand 3rd place to us and they'll be fighting for 4th :-)
Starsky
#havefaithinAVB....I wish we had not sacked him :(
@Mq
Rafa lead us to top4?? I believed so @ first, but not anymore...
@Mq
Good points are we have Ade who may have a point to prove and Parker who is fresh. Bad news is only 1 striker and no Sandro. If only we had got M'Villa or Sissoko. Those who were screaming about not needing another midfielder, look at our squad. Hudd and Livermore, not going to get us 4th. We need Parker to stay fit for the rest of the season. Bale needs to carry on his form and we need to convert more of the many chances we create.
vicspur
Glad to see some positive attitude on here - we are definitely capable of pulling it off again, but it's gonna be a close run thing. A hopeful sign is that we've been winning despite some pretty lack-lustre performances and this is a new experience for Spurs sides. So often in the past we've played the other side off the park and lost, but this year we've even beaten Man U and actually dominated them at home. I'm hoping that we haven't hit the heights we're capable of yet. Looks like Bale's playing as a striker for Wales - I'm just praying no-one clobbers him - losing him would really dent team morale as well as removing our biggest threat. Good point about support - applies for armchair support, too... Send good vibes. Maybe Spurs fans can move up the table. COYS!
DocHotspurs
If we plod along as we are doing we will be ok, as long as Arsenal donít have a run like they did last year, and Everton dont replicate Newcastle!! Youíve got to remember Arsenal & Newcastle were awesome the last half of the season, if arsenal didnít have such a brilliant run regardless of our results we would have finished third and would be in last 16 next week!
hudderspur
If we wrap bale in cotton wool and ban him from procreating we'll be fine. I also think we can beat city if we play like we did vs united. C'mon boys!
van der haart lane
Slurms McKenzie - Neither, United are clear because they have a winning mentality.
jod
Playing the points game is....um...pointless. You need one more than the team below you (or 1 more goal).

Looking ahead and guessing results? If it that was reliable there would be no bookies.

Take each game as it comes, don't worry about those around you.

I'd like to see how rotated the squad has been, played a lot of cup games with serious line ups, as we should.
Tottenham Hotcore
So, last year when we had one foot in the Champions League, we took our foot off the pedal, played with two left feet, and ended up shooting ourselves in the foot. Oh well, that's football.
lordjohnny
Just a thought. IMO with Sandro out for the season and if Parker gets injured (not many people feel Spurs will get 4th with either Huddlestone or Livermore) then maybe the line up could be: Lloris (GK); Walker (RB), Dawson (CB), Caulker (CB), BAE (LB); Lennon (RW), Dembele (ACM), VERTS (DM), Bale (LW) Holtby / Dempsey (behind the striker and Ade / Defoe (as lone striker).....Subs: Friedel, (Hudds or Naughton), Siggy, (Dempsey or Holtby), (ADE or Defoe). What do you guys think? I think Verts can do a pretty good job as a defensive midfielder......COYS!!!
Phil-Spurs
First off, the only game that matters is the game against Newcastle. 3 points there and there will be pressure on all those around us. 3rd is currently in our hands, so we have a great deal of control here. There are no easy games. We probably need to win 8 of the 13 remaining and can make the job so much easier by winning the games we have against Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. Every other team in the top 7 have issues, as do we. Start with a tight defence, and we will be hard to beat. Cech is out. That is a major blow, though perhaps only for a few games. Chelsea's fixture list is brutal. Good news is we are at home for the first leg of the Europa, so we can concentrate on the next three games from a position of comfort. 1/3 of the season to go so a lot could happen. We could finish anywhere from 3rd to 7th. We are 3 points better than last season. Let's keep it going. Focus. COYS
peterballb
I assume that AVB will drill into our players that they need to concentrate on ourselves and not worry much about how Farce 'n all, the Toffies, Chelskum, etc., are doing. Except when we play directly against these clubs, we have nothing to do with how they do. Don't worry about it. Just take care of the matches we are playing.

AVB will doubtless drill the lads not to think differently when playing against Farce 'n all, Chelskum, Everett, Poo, etc., than when playing against the teams on the lower rung. Getting overly motivated to win when playing our principal opponents typically has results that aren't good. The most glaring example in recent matches was Adebayor vs Farce 'n all; he got far overly motivated to shine in that match, and it backfired terribly. Go into all matches calmly. Too much motivation typically backfired. It's like bedding a beautiful woman for the first time and really really wanting to give her the best sex of her life; often doesn't work out that way. Relax and enjoy playing.

Taking it too easy versus the teams on the lower rungs can come back to bit one on the lower nether regions. How often have we seen our lads drop points vs. the Wigans and West Broms, etc., of the league. Get just as motivated when going on the pitch vs. the lower teams that one gets going on the pitch versus the Mancs, the Scum, the Chelscum, etc. No let downs, and no over excited performances.

Stay on an even keel, but make sure that that even keel--not too hot and not too cold-- is at a steady high level of performance.

Make sure that the reserve players know when they start or come on in a match as a substitute that we expect the same from them that we expect from our starters--no more and no less. Let them know that we expect them to be ready to play steady. Let them know that we won't bury them on the bench if they make a mistake. If they come on afraid of making any mistake, mistakes they will make. Then need to play relaxed. Not too high, not too low, not too hot, not too cool. Just like the best 11. Don't drop points we should be gaining, and grab the occasional point that the punters don't think we should take.

COYSS. Come on you steady Spurs.

Total knobhead
Tot' kn'......i think you are presuming Avb's thoughts on drilling game plan into his players mind. I.e.....in the post match interview, after the norwich game, recently. He said....that they were aware arse' and liverpl' were playing eachother and that he realised, the loss of two of two points wasn't ideal. From that and a few of his recent decisions and team performances. My conclusion was....that he is allowing himself to Table watch.....rather than putting 100% into winning each game, no matter what. Like you say.....it should be one game at a time......must win scenario....certainly for the forseeable future.
82spursdebut
Jod winning mentality will get you so far but you still have to apply that mentality and without goals you don't win matchs.
Slurms McKenzie
I don't mind if AVB does a bit of table watching, but one wants the players to concentrate entirely on the match for which they are preparing and when they are playing, on that match and that match alone. One expects a manager to have a longer vision and a general manager or DoF to have yet a longer view. But if the players are playing each match as it comes without worrying about the other team, the outcome will be better. If the players get too far up for one team, it can be disastrous, and if they take a team for granted while thinking about the "more important" match a week or two later, it is disastrous. Not to hot, not too cole, steady as she goes. But, yes, AVB cannot rotate his squad unless he does some forward planning. And I as I wrote earlier, I assume that AVB will drill into our players that they need to concentrate on ourselves and not worry much about how Farce 'n all, the Toffies, Chelskum, etc., are doing... AVB will doubtless drill the lads not to think differently when playing against Farce 'n all, Chelskum, Everett, Poo, etc., than when playing against the teams on the lower rung.

I was writing about what AVB would (or should) be saying to the players in preparation for matches. Sorry if I didn't make that sufficiently clear, although I thought I did. But that was my point.

Total knobhead
Yea I got that TK but then I have more then two brain cells and a very basic reading ability!
Slurms McKenzie
Sounds like you thought I was thinking you don't have more than two brain cells. I never thought that. Sorry if I gave that impression. Didn't mean to do so.
Total knobhead
We have a chance it all depends on mentality of players. Injuries and goals imo.
thfan
Sorry TK that pop wasn't directed at you!
Slurms McKenzie
 

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