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Squad not good enough...or unable to play a different style?

Discussion in 'Spurs News & Views' started by DubaiSpur, 13 Feb 2021.

  1. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Rafael Van Der Vaart

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    ..I was thinking about this recently. Our squad is being shown up for its horrendous weaknesses right now, and there are many that are utterly undeniable.
    • Davinson Sanchez is close to the worst, most utterly brainless, heartless and gutless center-back I have seen in two decades watching this club. I'm starting to loathe seeing him on the team sheet for how utterly guaranteed it is that he'll look like the miserably hapless fool he is.
    • Davies is miserably average, and gets sat on his arse by League Two players.
    • Sissoko...Christ.
    • Winks....Christ.
    • Lucas...his head knows what to do, his legs simply cannot execute them.
    We also have a shedload of rapidly declining players, from Lloris to Toby to Dier, who look relegation level. No doubt.

    But...thinking about it, there are two common threads that run through this team.

    1. The inability to think for themselves - in terms of football and off-field intelligence, these players are among the poorest in the Premier League.
    2. The inability to pass a football or to retain possession when pressed, *at all* - again, they are probably the poorest in the league at that.
    I've been wondering why that is. And I think I know the answer.

    For six years, we have followed a squad building strategy that prioritizes finding the players to play one way, and one way only. That is, extremely high-intensity, high press, *very* quick football.

    The sort of gegenpress Poch employed means you have to be constantly pressing high up the field, and when the opponent makes a mistake, you have to get the ball into the danger zone with one touch or one pass. However, it also means you have a lot of space to make what are relatively simple passes to execute, because you catch the opposition high up and they aren' t in a defensive shape, meaning passes are easy to make.

    The best part is, this system doesn' t really need you to think, or be technically skilled. For a baseline level of results and regularly good performances, all it needs is enough stamina, speed and strength to press, and a relatively limited tactical intelligence to play the quick pass when possession is turned over and follow pressing traps/instructions otherwise.

    Now, this system will generally fail when up against opponents that give you the ball (ie, sit deep), because you can't play into spaces. And thus play becomes very laboured. You can avoid that by having players who are both supremely fit and also technically brilliant to play intricately when faced with a low block, but those players are very expensive.

    And that is our problem today.

    Under Poch, we built a side very suited to gegenpressing, that worked even better at WHL because it was a small pitch, easy to cover ground - in fact, it astonished me that we had turned a weakness in the Harry years (WHL small = no space to play or break down smaller sides) into a strength. We didn't need players to think or be good technical players - we only needed them to be the fittest in the league, and they were. It worked against the majority of sides, but we lost in the big games against sides able to play our press or able to sit deep and counter us. To overcome that final hurdle, we needed players that were technical, intelligent *and* fit.

    But Levy cheaped out, again and again and again, on buying players in that top category that could fit that description. It's not that we didn't try - the fact that Liverpool and us both went for the same players again and again is proof that we recognised this need. But they outspent Levy, and they got the players we needed. And we got their second-rate replacements - brainless players who could run, but not really play or be intelligent. Sissoko instead of Wijnaldum. N'Jie and N'Koudou over Mane. Aurier when we needed to replace Walker. And so on.

    And we saw the consequences of that - as we saw, we declined as we moved to a bigger pitch meaning our press was less effective, good players left or declined and were replaced with crap, and simple mental and physical fatigue meant our fitness levels plummeted.

    And today we have this squad - which I'm afraid tocsay, can only play one way. It is the most tactically moronic side in the league, and probsbly one of the least technical. And this, sadly, is true of *all* our players, even comparatively better ones like Son and Dele - they were built for a style which minimises their weaknesses.

    To wrap up, Mourinho is a terrible dinosaur and he should leave. But I have no illusions that this squad will achieve anything after him, because it is solely built play one style. It cannot sit deep because it lacks intelligence and is error prone - it cannot play attacking, possession football because it is too technically limited to withstand the ubiquitous press nowadays. It can't even return to gegenpressing because our pitch now is gigantic and these players no longer have the fitnes for it. All it can do is play the sort of football we saw at the end with Poch - wild, aimless attacking that bypasses midfield, almost rush football.

    And this will not change for years, Mourinho or not, until we buy a new set of better, more, more intelligent technical players. Mourinho is a problem, but this squad is the bigger problem.
     
    LincsSpur, djp82, Mikey10 and 2 others like this.
  2. billyiddo

    billyiddo Willie Hall Staff Member

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    12 points from the last 12 games - the players are better than that sort of form no matter what you think of them
     
    Last edited: 13 Feb 2021
  3. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Rafael Van Der Vaart

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    I don't think they are mate, honestly. Sanchez? Dier? Aurier? Sissoko? Winks? Davies?

    These players would be drummed out of Fulham, SU and West Brom for being atrocious.

    No argument - Mourinho needs to fudge off. But the pain won't end until those utter wastes of squad places fudge off too.
     
  4. AdamB

    AdamB Colin Calderwood

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    None of these are first choice players. We're not in a position where we can have two Harry Kanes, 4 Sonny's, 2 or 3 Hojbjergs

    We can realistically expect to have 11 decent first choice players, with back-ups of a step down or two.....but we then need a system into which average players come in/out as needed and look competent. We don't have that system - a well drilled system makes average players look better
     
    ricky2tricky4city and DubSpur like this.
  5. billyiddo

    billyiddo Willie Hall Staff Member

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    You're not thinking straight mate, going OTT

    These players, maybe Winks and Sissoko aside are not relegation material.

    I don't know why Aurier keeps getting included in these lists he's having a good season
     
  6. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Rafael Van Der Vaart

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    I agree, but that last line sort of sums up our problem. All these wasters know is how to play one way, in one system that makes then look....average instead of terrible. Our squad was built in a way that allowed 11 average to terrible backups to sustain a top class 11 playing high press football.

    But now, that style just won't work - whole team is too unfit for it, pitches are to big, pressing is everywhere and no longer the 'in' thing as it was five years ago. So what do we do when our only Plan, Plan A, no longer works?
     
  7. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Rafael Van Der Vaart

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    Would suggest that Aurier's having a good season because we have to sacrifice a midfield player to sit in at RB when he goes marauding. Which means one less player in the buildup. We had the same issue last season, and Mourinho's solution was to play the lopsided back four where the LB would hold and Aurier would go up.

    I don't think it's worth sabotaging the entire team to babysit him - I'd suggest that his performances now that Ndombele is deep in the 'Sissoko' role might well decline, because Ndombel won't sit in and play the deadweight Sissoko role to let Aurier wander.
     
  8. DubSpur

    DubSpur Erik Edman

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    He isn't being babysat though. It's the job of the DMs to cover FBs when they do get forward.
    Under Poch when we had Walker and Rose bombing forward you'd see Wanyama, Dembele or Dier covering them.
    One of the things that was often done was the DM would go into a back 3 and the two CBs would move wider to cover the FBs.
    It's having a system to allow the FBs push on, not "babysitting" them.
     
  9. billyiddo

    billyiddo Willie Hall Staff Member

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    Well we'll see how he performs with Ndombele in the deeper role in the next run of games hopefully- think he shouldn't be on you list until he proves himself one way or the other in that setup
     
    DubSpur likes this.
  10. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Rafael Van Der Vaart

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    P
    Yes. One player dropping deep, two CBs going wide, no argument there.

    That makes three players at the back.

    With Sissoko and Aurier, it's different. Sissoko non-figuratively sits at RB while Aurier wanders, and with Hojbjerg also back there it makes four at the back.

    No wonder our buildup struggles with that setup at times.
     
  11. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Rafael Van Der Vaart

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    Fair enough, but personally I think the downgrade fron Walker to Aurier justifies him bring in there regardless.
     
  12. billyiddo

    billyiddo Willie Hall Staff Member

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    Right-sided CM covers the right suded FB and vice versa on the left - what you're describing is the Dier DM > CB set up we had under Poch which was somewhat unique to that team
     
  13. Jurgen the German

    Jurgen the German Barry Daines

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    To sum up, we’ve not recruited well enough since 2016 for the most part, the odd gems like Reggie and Hojbjerg aside.

    To many players been here 5/6/7 years who aren’t good enough to start; Sanchez, Dier, Lamela, Sissoko, Davies. All have gotten far too many starts this season because of either injuries or we don’t have a clear first choice in that position.

    Ps anyone else get confused when Dubaispur and dubspur post in the same thread?
     
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  14. Bedfordspurs

    Bedfordspurs Vivian Woodward

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    Aurier has been our best defender
    The only thing against Aurier now is himself
     
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  15. DubSpur

    DubSpur Erik Edman

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    Often think did I really get that tinkled and write that drivel only to realise it was Dubai and feel relieved :p
     
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  16. Hashegotthesackyet?

    Hashegotthesackyet? Pascal Chimbonda

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    Aurier is high risk/reward. He may be our best defender but he isn’t reliable. Sadly none of them are. 4 (or more) wrongs don’t make a right.
    What a mess.
     
  17. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Rafael Van Der Vaart

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    I don't think it's particularly unique at all, mate. I watch other teams pass it around us with ease every single game after all - the DM drops deep, two CBs go wide.

    However, crucial difference is that 3 at the back means 7 in the buildup. 4 at the back means just six up in attack, and with Aurier and Reggie (when fit) hugginh the touchline, it means a real lack of players to pass to in the middle.

    These things make a difference - it's like having 10 men in a way having 4 at the back as opposed to 3, or even 2.
     
  18. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Rafael Van Der Vaart

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    Yikes. And here I thought we were two halves of the same schizophrenic whole. :p
     
  19. Modric THFC

    Modric THFC Chris Perry

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    The squad is fine.
    Mourinho needs completely different types of footballers to make extreme type of football from 15 years ago work.

    Mourinho would not be able to make a functional 11 from the current fit Emirates Marketing Project squad. Try naming an 11 that would work.
    Is their squad "good enough"? Yes.
     
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  20. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Rafael Van Der Vaart

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    They're built to play their way, though. And it works for them. And tbh, it isn't the only way they can play - if they wanted, they could probably become a more gegenpressing side with ease.

    Our squad is built to play in just one way, I would argue. And that way would no longer work for us if we went back to it, for many reasons (players noy fit, players a bit brick, big pitches, pressing everywhere now).

    It definitely doesn't work for Mourinho's 'tactics'. But I'm not sure it would work for anyone anymore.
     
    Bedfordspurs likes this.

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