AVB reacts badly to pressure


Do your job, man

There has been a determined effort to misrepresent Spurs' performance on Sunday, when particularly for the first half we were dreadful. Directionless sideways passing that broke down anywhere near the opposition box, combined with fragile defending that conceded the best chances and free-kick opportunities to Hull, one of the worst teams in the league, experiencing an injury crisis. Having been at the previous home game v Wham, it was clear as soon as the first five minutes of energy dissipated that we had returned to that horrific level of non-performance and then somehow we managed to get worse.

We improved after the break, albeit nowhere near the level of Champions League rivals, and were saved from dropping points by a dubious penalty. This may prove vital, as both in morale and points terms I'm not sure we could have recovered enough from two shattering home reverses in succession to weak teams.

After this lucky escape, it would have been a good time for the manager to take some responsibility for and explain deficiencies, particularly an incoherent attack, that have dogged us throughout his reign and have not been improved by lavish spending. Instead, AVB congratulated the players with not a word of analysis, and blamed the fans.

Almost universally, such episodes result in the swift departure of the manager. Roy Hodgson, Paolo Di Canio, and plenty more have fallen for taking on the fan community in woefully misguided rants that rapidly returned to roost. There is just no percentage in it - failing the 'siege mentality' test as this requires a united club, making the payers look bad, and guaranteed to launch multiple undesirable narratives.

There is an issue with atmosphere at WHL, as there is at Manchester United, Arsenal and most of the PL. The demographic shift bought on by overpricing has driven out the working class, passionate fans. That needs to be addressed but at institutional level.

Not that support was especially bad on Sunday, in response to an inept performance that highlighted AVB's failure to get his fancy new machine to work with any conviction. I took his post-match remarks to be simple frustration borne at that, frothing over in the notoriously raw post-match interview setting.

There is mitigation for the team, and hope, naturally. Players are still settling, we have a healthy points tally, and moments like the first half against Chelsea let us dream. But going into a critical run of games we are still in search of an identity and need a sharp improvement. In a make-or-break season for both the manager and the team, that job deserves 100% of the manager's focus, and picking fights with us is a dangerous distraction.

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