even made up ones.
It was the Wet Spam cup final on Saturday, unfortunately for the home side Jose Mourinho was making his debut in the Spurs dugout and he doesn’t lose many cup finals.
It may have been the start of a new era at Spurs – it’s been a while since we had one of them – but it was a return of old faces and old ways as Jose Mourinho took charge of his first game.
Jose’s first formation was a return to the 4-2-3-1 that Pochettino used during the best times and like those days it was a fluid formation. With Dier back in the holding role, dropping back to make a back three, when Aurier and Davies went forward. While on the other side Davies would drop in to make the back three.
So it went from the starting formation to a 3-2-5 when Spurs attacked. Which apparently wasn’t supposed to happen under Jose. Wasn’t it meant to be boring.
One thing that has been resigned to the history books is playing out from the back. As much as I loved Poch, I will not in any way, shape or form miss Spurs splitting the centre-backs and playing goal-kicks out to one of them in the area. Heart attack inducing fannying about has left the building. They have the players to win second balls and from the kicks there was barely a Spurs player to be seen in their half.
One old face was featured was a shame though. Winks was alongside Dier in the central midfield pair. I do hope this was because of Lo Celso’s international duty and not a sign of things to come. The Argentinian is a better tackler, better dribbler and better passer of the ball, with more forward vision. Also Winks was on set piece duty and well, they might as well have had Eriksen doing that for all the good he was. Thankfully the Danish rat wasn’t a starter, though he did come on in a bizarre substitution, that in keeping with keeping things the same was like those of Poch was a head scratcher.
The old face returning that brought the smile to most was that of Dele. I think we may have got our Dele back. Back in the number 10 role, just off Harry with two wide of him and cover behind he was just the Dele of old. Full of himself and rightly so.
The first half started with Dele playing some lovely through balls, from that gap between their midfield and their defence, to and offside player. The encouraging thing was people were playing the ball to Harry, the ball was getting into the box quicker as were the players, with Moura, Son and Dele in there alongside Kane.
It took little over half an hour before the first goal, during which Spurs were well on top. It was a fuck “you strike” from Son as it came a bit after he was taken out by a challenge that should have been a red card. Dele played Son in with another excellent ball, a bit of a jink and Son had the ball on his left with enough space to get his shot in, which he did firing it close, past the keeper.
Last goal of the old regime, first goal of the new.
Seven minutes later and the lead was doubled. Dele against instrumental, this time with a piece of pure Dele. From a hump up the park from the Spam keeper, headed down by Davies, Son flicked the ball infield, Dier then misplaced a pass – he did that a bit and did look rusty but with Jose’s confidence he’ll regain his – Dele chased down the ball as it was heading over the touchline, falling back he somehow managed to see Son was setting off down the wing and then somehow managed to hook the ball into Son’s path from a prone position. Son was off and put in a glorious cross, curling just ahead of the keeper and just ahead of the defenders for Moura to run onto and poke home.
It was only six minutes for the third… if you don’t count the half-time break, which as per Jose saw him leave down the tunnel before the ref had blown the whistle. Harry was fouled, yet again, a quick free kick taken and the ball was out with Aurier on the right wing. He put in a glorious cross, right on Harry’s head. Kane couldn’t miss. Kane’s last two goals for Spurs have been headers, this one from a cross which he hasn’t done in the league since a few games into last season. It moved him into sole 3rd place on the Spurs all time goal scorers list.
They weren’t getting balls into the box with crosses like these two before. Harry wasn’t getting the service he needed. When Rogers went into Leicester he knew that he just had to get his team to play to Vardy. Use his pace and scoring ability. Get the ball forward quickly to him and let him do the rest. Mourinho knows that if you get the ball to Kane in the box goals will come. Feed the goat and he will score.
The last twenty minutes were probably needed as Spurs dropped off and Jose was left in no doubt of the task ahead for him. A comfortable cruise against a hopeless side would just be papering over the cracks. Though as stated above it led to a strange substitution.
Jose didn’t make a change on the hour but was going to bring Eriksen on a little later. Davies then got injured and Rose came on instead. By this time the Spam had got one back. The Dane did come on a few minutes later though. Why, when you’re trying to hang onto a 3-1 lead would you bring on Eriksen?
A player renowned for ducking a challenge and going missing when the hard work is required. In the end over the quarter of an hour or so he was on the pitch, he touched the ball a whole three times.
West Ham could have brought it back to 3-2 but Rice was offside when he “scored”, otherwise they could have ended up drawing the game as they did pull one back later in the sixth minute of injury time.
Jose knows he needs to stiffen up that defence, stiffen up the resolve but he was smiling at the end ans were the players after their first away win in the league since beating Fulham in January. He knows he’s got the tools to work with, just put Lo Celso and Sessegnon in there.
It was their cup final and Jose won it… though he was claiming it was the players what done it…