Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Safety First

In Jol’s analysis of Sunday’s game on the Official Website we get a little insight into his thinking, and in particular why we sit deep against teams once we’ve taken the lead:

“It didn't take too long for us to get back and we knew after we got the second that we would be able to hit them on the break. As I said, it took us a long time to get the third and what we want is for it to be like a couple of seasons ago when we scored five goals on a few occasions and three on others. If there is only a margin of one it is often not enough in the Premiership.”

He believes that after taking the lead against a team that they will throw everything forward and that we’ll be able to pick them off on the break, perhaps with the pace of Lennon, Keane or Defoe, and even Jenas. Fair enough, but why do we do this with a one goal lead at home? Away from home this attitude is good, as the home side want to win in front of their own fans so they’ll go for it. When a team comes to White Hart Lane though they were probably only here for the draw in the first place so they don’t go for it and leave space at the back, they stay solid – why not when there is only one goal in it? All we do by switching to a counter attack style is hand the impetus to the opposition and give the fans heart attacks due to having to watch us defend so deeply.

If we have a two-goal lead then Jol’s counter-attack attitude makes more sense; soak up the inevitable pressure and hit them on the break safe in the knowledge we have a nice two goal cushion. But at one-nil or two-one it’s a dangerous game to play. We should carry on playing at one-nil or two-one as if its nil-nil, i.e. going all out looking for the second goal. Once that goes in then the foot can go off the gas and we can pick off the opposition at will, as they will have no choice but to go for it.

Its good to see that he recognises that we haven’t been spanking teams this season or last season, but he should be having a think as to why this is the case, and hopefully his conclusion will be that it is due to his safety first attitude. This season and last season our biggest wins have been 3-1 victories, against Wigan and FC Bruges this season, and Charlton last year. We haven’t scored 4 or more in a league match since April 2005 in the 5-1 mauling of Aston Villa. You can’t count the 5-0 win over MK Dons this season as it wasn’t a fair fight.

Why should this be the case? We’ve always got it together a couple of times a season to spank somebody, doesn’t matter whether it was Pleat, Hoddle or Graham in charge, we managed to stick four or five past someone each season. Its something that needs to be looked at, as all the big teams belt the smaller ones a couple of times a season and Spurs should be no different.

The Waddler.