Many people believe the announcement of Pep Guardiola on his way to Man City sparked a new era for British football; one that would see new clubs come into the forefront and see an end to the tradition ‘top four’ clubs.
In some ways this is true – the Manchester United’s and Liverpool’s who dominated the Premier League for so long seem to be in an endless limbo of failed signings and managers whilst newcomers like Leicester, Tottenham and Man City take over.
“21st Century clubs” was the label put on them.
This weekend, this notion was blown out of the water by one result- Tottenham’s victory over Manchester City.
The fans, many of whom were there before the Sheikh era, were outraged; and rightly so. They’ve spent hundreds of millions on a team, a sports ground and when it came down to it, they still weren’t good enough.
However, the outrage of the City fans was overpowered by the sheer jubilance of Spurs fans. During the match this was also evident. After Harry Kane’s goal, the barriers were almost broken by the amount of them that wanted to join in with his celebrations.
On the other end – nothing. Not even Iheanacho’s teammates joined in with him after he equalised. Not only this, for the second week in a row, they failed to sell out their stadium against title rivals.
This proves a point made by Paul Merson on Soccer Saturday last week. It takes a lot more time and a many more trophies if you want to be etched into the history books as a top team.
Spurs fans have a lot more to be happy about; for at last they have found a manager that has gotten the best out of his players.
For decades, Spurs have been a side not to be taken seriously, especially when it came to actually achieving something. Alex Ferguson summed it up in his controversial “Lads, it’s Tottenham” teamtalk.
They were soft and uncommitted to the challenge. At times they looked like achieving something when they had a few key players with creative flair- Gareth Bale, Van der Vaart type players. But in the end, they drifted off. The number of creative players was always outweighed by the uncommitted ones.
Pochettino has identified this and dealt with it. Since his arrival, he has offloaded 36 players in total, making Tottenham’s squad the smallest in the league- which for many would be cause for concern.
However, the lower number of players means a lower number of potential slackers. The fear of being number 37 acts as a driving point the players and they continue to work hard.
He has turned a squad that had potential but never had that driving force into one that is a force to be reckoned with. While keeping the creative aspect in their play with Erikson, Alli, Lamela. He now has the enforcers in Mason and co to back it up.
They no longer have a gaping hole in their spine and instead have replaced it with a strong steel bar in Lloris, Davies, Erikson and Kane.