Focus, Perspective and Perseverance - The three keys to Tottenham finishing third

Since we allowed our 10 point cushion ahead of Robin Van Persie to evaporate into thin air there has been a storm of nonsense in the tabloids saying how Spurs won't be in the Champions League next season let alone finish in 3rd place. The Arsenal goalkeeper whose name everybody struggles to pronounce let alone spell has been crowing loudly lately which is particularly annoying. Yes it may be squeaky-bum time but moving forward we need three things (yes I do mean the ones I mentioned in the title).


What have our three consecutive losses all had in common. Defensive lapses in concentration. Some for as little as a second (the Jelavic goal, Rooney's goal, Young's first goal), some for an hour (that nightmare at the Emirates). Regardless of their length, we have thrown away valuable points as a result of this.

This part ties in later but it's relevant here too. The back four for Tottenham this season have largely been excellent. Kyle Walker has grown immensely since game one against United and will be loved by the fans for years to come after scoring the winner against Arsenal at the Lane. Ledley King has somehow found some magic cure to his chronic knee problems and looks set to make the 20 game mark required for old CFC to get a new contract. His biggest contribution aside from leadership is his miraculous ability to bring the best out of his fellow defenders just by his presence.

Younes Kaboul has been amazing since his 90 minute long brain fart when Man City visited us way back in August. A slight blip against Stoke and again at Everton but he's largely been brilliant, feeling the benefits of both partnering Ledley and extended game time. Benoit Assou-Ekotto has been his usual reliable self but seems to be more fearless, playing with more confidence than I've seen from him before. He's putting in better crosses, making better runs and has scored two goals this season, taking his career total for Spurs to 3.

Given the brilliance of the back four this season, they are coming under more scrutiny than before so all mistakes are amplified. Ahh the issues of being a club ready for another crack at the Champions League... These lapses in focus by the back four (and certain Croatian midfielders who forgot that people cannot be offside from throw-ins, no it's not Niko Kranjcar) need to be eliminated. They have cost us points in both the last three weeks and earlier in the season against Stoke, Wolves, Chelsea and Man City.

Now for perhaps someone who needs a lesson in focus the most. The old gaffer, Harry Redknapp. His head has been turned by the England talk despite his continuous denials of that fact and it is costing us. Since Capello quit our record is 2-1-3. Take away Stevenage and it's a much more depressing 1-0-3. He's been lax with his tactics and team selection, choosing players out of position or rushing them back when he has been told that they aren't fit (Aaron Lennon). Sharpen up Harry!



Above is a selection of the statements I've seen flying around the web lately. Spurs fans seriously, grow up. If anyone had come to you after the Man City hiding and told you "Tottenham will be in 3rd place with 10 games left after losing 3 on the bounce." I bet you would have laughed all the way home to your jumbo sized box of tissues. The fact is that this is our best season in a long long time and we need to appreciate that. Let's take a look at where points have been dropped all season shall we?

v Man United (A)

-We never win at OT, no Scott Parker or Emmanuel Adebayor or Luka Modric. Hardly our best side, 0 points deserved.

v Man City (H)

-David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri. We got torn to shreds, simple as that. Midfield pairing of Niko and a Luka dreaming of a Chelsea blue future. Still no Parker or Adebayor. 0 points deserved

v Newcastle (A)

Facts about this match.

*We have a terrible record at St James' Park

*We lost the win to a late screamer by Ameobi after playing very well

*This was back when Newcastle were undefeated and playing out of their skins every week

-Verdict: Draw fair, we could have gotten all three here

v Stoke (A)

-Chris Foy

That's about it

-Verdict: All three points deserved

v Chelsea (H)

-A draw was probably fair here, both teams had excellent chances. Shame on Rafa for not marking Cashley properly but oh well. Adebayor game-changing/winning goal disallowed.

v Swansea (A)

-Unlucky to concede a late goal, nobody's taking much from the Liberty anyway so a draw is a good result.

v Wolves (H)

-Poor refereeing to give the corner that led to the goal, worse defending to let in the goal and then even worse finishing by the rest of the team not to score more. Adebayor match-winning goal disallowed.

-Verdict: All three points deserved

v Man City (A)

-Nasri should have been picked up for his goal, Lescott's goal was the result of shocking defending. Balotelli should have been off the pitch for the stamp on Parker and Bale wasted that glorious chance to win it.

-Verdict: At least a point deserved.

v Liverpool (A)

-Boring boring game. No life in the Spurs attack, no quality from Liverpool. 0-0 fair result. Shame on Bale for wasting a second game-winning chance in three matches.

v Arsenal (A)

-We were so bad we made Theo Walcott look like Leo Messi.

v Man United (H)

-Daylight robbery by Sir Alex's men, shame we didn't finish better though. Adebayor game-changing goal disallowed.

-Verdict: At least a point deserved

v Everton (A)

-One lapse in defending by us and resolute defending by Everton. We deserved more.

-Verdict: At least a point deserved

If you look at those we have been undone by a mixture of poor refereeing, bad luck and defensive shockers. We're still doing really well in the league, in the quarter finals of the FA Cup and are the favourites to win the FA Cup. Main message here, we will be fine. Really. Believe it.


Ok we're in a bad patch. So what? We have the players and the manager to pull us out of it. If there is one thing Harry does it is to instill players with the confidence they need to get a big result. We have a big game against Stoke coming up at the Lane after our FA Cup tie with Bolton. Here's how we need to prepare for the run in.

1. Pick the players in their best positions. Until Lennon's fit, stick Kranjcar wide right. Modric in the centre, Bale on the left. Simple really.

2. Don't worry about anyone else. So what if Arsenal are winning games? So what if Chelsea are winning games? Last I checked that didn't miraculously impact the skill of our players. News flash for the Tottenham players and manager. Your only job is to play and manage for the shirt respectively. Focus on us and we will see a marked improvement.

3. Take it one game at a time. Self explanatory.

There we have it, one fan's outlook on the season ahead. COYS.

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