From Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Every football fan likes to believe their club is truly unique – that theirs is the most special among the seven hundred trillion teams that exist on this planet.
A quote had been doing the rounds among Tottenham fans recently from the great Danny Blanchflower, who insisted that football is about playing with style.
Obviously, it’s being pushed as anti-Mourinho rhetoric. But, again, there are few teams who have ever had philosophies of playing boring football.
But the first line of the pre-match video that blared out on the big screens at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (who are they doing this for again?) has perhaps best summed up Spurs’ recent woes.
“Can you see it, this display of courage?”
Tottenham haven’t played with courage in weeks. They’ve been totally devoid of confidence, ideas, and above all, winning. That should’ve been the first aim.
Thankfully, that was the case in Sunday’s 2-0 victory against West Brom. From the off, Spurs played with a zip and purpose, a swagger in their step and a visible desire to win. As Tottenham started stuffing the losses column in the table in recent weeks thanks to a series of diabolical displays, all fans wanted was some hope that this wasn’t the ‘new normal’.
Though the majority of Jose Mourinho’s tenure has been blighted by bad football, it hasn’t always been the case. In the autumn, Spurs put five past Southampton, six past Manchester United and three past West Ham while dominating from back to front.
But then they conceded three goals to the Hammers in the last ten minutes. Then Mourinho shut up shop for good. It was the last time Spurs looked exciting in the Premier League until today.
A defeat at home to West Brom may have spelled the end for Mourinho at Spurs – there was a real doomsday feeling after the loss vs Chelsea on Thursday – and failure to put away one of the worst sides in the league would have been the ultimate nail in the coffin.
Tottenham needed a win in style to try and resurrect their Premier League campaign, to at least give themselves a chance of battling for top four instead of battling Arsenal for top ten.
The returning Harry Kane looked sharp and dangerous, Son Heung-min found his shooting boots again, and the decision to start Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela helped Spurs find their way around a typically deep Sam Allardyce side. There’s a map for Tottenham to navigate their way out of this crisis and they’ve started following it just before fatal disaster.
Granted, it is only West Brom, but you have to start somewhere and can only beat what’s in front of you – Wednesday’s FA Cup tie with Everton will serve as the greater litmus test for their hopes this season.
Spurs have had a game like this in their locker for a long time. Every team does – it’s football, no club side loses forever. You have good games and you have bad games, but Tottenham quite obviously have the resources to play well and win on a far more consistent basis – this victory served as the reminder.
It’s not that every team has a divine right to win and play football. It’s that any team can.