Monday, September 03, 2007

They say things come in threes

First there was the first leg of the Carling Cup semi final, then the FA Cup quarter final, and now Saturday's disappointing result. The common theme? Two goals ahead and all we leave with is a draw. For such an event to happen once is annoying, but for it to happen three times in little over seven months would suggest that something isn't quite right with the tactics used.

Now I am not a 'Jol Out' man. Far from it in fact, as I have done nothing but speak up in favour of the big Dutchman on this blog since he took over at the helm. And even after Saturday I remain unwavering. BMJ is the best manager we've had in years, and everyone needs to get behind him - fans and directors alike.

However, all I will say is, "Please Martin, learn from your past mistakes."

To avoid alienating those non-football-loving types I share my life with, I try hard not to let a bad Spurs result make me too miserable once I arrive home after a match. However, those best intentions just become too difficult when I feel the result is unjust. Not unjust in the sense that we didn't deserve the final result, but unjust in the sense that had we not looked a gift horse in the mouth, I'd be coming home celebrating.

Just think back to that cold night in late January… At 2-0 up it looked like a Jol team might finally beat Arsenal (even if it was just their reserve side). Alas, something went wrong at half time and we capitulated - drawing 2-2 and perhaps feeling fortunate that we hadn't lost.

Then in March there was that barmy day at Stamford Bridge. Again, two goals up at 3-1 and once again we capitulated in the second half - this time drawing 3-3. BMJ was heavily criticised afterwards for some of his substitutions - replacing Berbatov after just over an hour was one that caused the Spurs faithful to feel particularly aggrieved.

Although both matches finished a draw, I think the way in which we collapsed caused huge psychological damage as we lost both the second leg of the Carling Cup semi final and the FA Cup replay at home to Chelsea.

I had hoped that such outcomes would have been confined to last season, but alas, Saturday's surrender to Fulham proved we have not yet learned from our mistakes. Replacing Keane at 3-1 was a silly thing to do in my opinion. He always links the midfield to the front line so well, and knowing that we might have a bit of defending to do in the final stages, BMJ should have surely known that Robbie had a key part to play. Instead he gave Defoe a run out who didn't get much service because the front two became so isolated.

Our midfielders became defenders and suddenly we couldn't get the ball out of our own half. Did someone not once say that "attack is the best form of defence"? Since we played so well for over an hour, surely the instructions should just have been to continue as we were? We had so many chances, I was also disappointed that we only managed to score three.

Anyway, what's done is done… I just hope we don't surrender anymore two goal advantages in the near future. If we do, I have an unfortunate feeling it could be the end of Jol. And that would be a massive shame.

One final point - for those of you clamouring for a change of manager, please remember that it took Burkinshaw a few years to get things right (including a relegation). Similarly, it took a couple of years for Bill Nicholson's side to start fulfilling its potential. Making hasty decisions will only set us back further. It's vital that the whole club pull in the same direction, and in doing so the players and coaching staff must learn how not to throw away decent leads!

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