but it’s gonna need more than that.
In a game of two halves, Spurs finally showed some life to come from behind to beat a Leeds team that were all over them, while Conte did his touchline routine.
Leeds lying fourth bottom in the league were looking for a face to face appointment with Dr. Tottenham to get their season going. From the start it looked like a recovery was on the cards. It should have been a good time for Spurs to play Bielsa’s side with them shorn of a few of their first team, especially in the goal scoring area.
Leeds from the off looked like a team that knew exactly what their manager wanted from each one of them. A team with a plan, that’s been worked out over the years the Argentine has been in charge. While Spurs looked like a team that haven’t had a plan for a long time, through numerous managers with the latest one having only arrived and had to deal with an international break taking away his core for a couple of weeks he could have worked with them – and left some of them unavailable.
This of course meant that those not good enough to even get into the likes of Southgate’s squad were left to impress. And as soon as talk of injuries was brought up, along with Skipp being suspended for one game for reaching five yellow cards, you just knew what was coming up in the team sheet.
Yes, a couple of weeks of Winks scampering around the training ground saying “look at me boss” and like those that have gone before, Conte thought it would be a good idea to play him in a middle pair.
It wasn’t long into the game that he might have realised his mistake, as Winks lost the ball for Leeds first attack, of many in that first half. Yet again Winks was going feature in one of the worst halves Spurs have produced this season.
A half that saw them trudge off, one down, to boos, having gone another half of football without registering a shot on target. The sixth half on the trot, apparently the first team to do so sine Opta started registering the stats.
Now, as said many times before, I like the back three, it gets the best out of the players Spurs have, while providing the requisite cover for some of their deficiencies in defence, but I don’t like the middle pair. Just feel it’s a man short most of the time and this was born out by the way Leeds pushed Spurs into a back five rather than the three. With five across the face of the box and two just in front of them there was a huge gap between them and the three up front.
In the rare moments the front trio got the ball, Moura was in his standard headless chicken routine, Son was missing, while Kane was in Kalvin Phillips’ pocket. The England man was playing a sweeper role, sweeping all around next to Kane not giving him a sniff. Of all the players Leeds miss when absent, they miss him the most.
It was a back five when the cross came over for one of the two blue shirted players in the box to put the ball in the net. All those white shirts but it still got through.
Don’t know what happened at half time but I doubt the boos made Conte happy. After the break, what ever was said seemed to have worked as all of sudden there was signs of life. The wing-backs were more wingers than fullbacks, the middle pair moved further up the pitch – though unfortunately Winks stayed on, playing his cowardly sideways balls – and all of a sudden there was a shot on target.
It was just a shot though, no goal, no Kane still can’t do what he did for England or used to do for Spurs. Moura actually played a decent ball – at times it is hard to reconcile his inept headless routine with that hat-tick and what he can do – through to Kane, before he would have banged it straight away, this season he’s taking that touch that just kills the chance.
While Spurs were better, far better, Hugo was still having to make saves to keep them in it, before the equaliser. A cross from Reguilon was sort of cut out by Moura, who turned in the box and knocked it back to the edge and Hojbjerg whose scuffer finally went in. Hojbjerg’s fourth league goal in his 50th appearance. We keep getting told goals and assists aren’t Winks’ game. Well they play the same position, play the same role, yet the Dane has twice the goals in less than half the games.
Moura started it for the winner, with a run that saw him brought down just on the edge of the D. Again, if he did more of that, running at ’em to win fouls. From there it was a great surprise to see Kane stand just in front of the wall and not line up to miss another free-kick. It was Dier that took that role, his shot hitting the wall and taking a massive deflection to totally confound the keeper, who was left helpless as Reguilon was the first to react and knock in his first goal for the club.
It was the kind of reaction that wouldn’t have happened in the dead first half.
Fans were happy with this reaction and to Conte when he was getting the crowd going after the second when the volume dropped. Also happy with his reaction to the victory, which is the way Conte does it, there is something stereotypically Italian about him. But then we’ve seen Jose do this kind of stuff, it’ll take a bit more than rah-rah-rah but the team did look like they wanted it in that second half, more than they had for most of Nuno’s games and final bit under Jose.
He just has to figure out, like all those before him that with Winks it’s basically hindering your team and that an extra body in the middle might help, could say drop Kane for a midfielder, might bring Son back to life as well…