Battered, Bullied and Blue

David Cooper 06/03/2017  21 Comments  [Jump to last]
It was very clear by Ronald's comments pre-match that he had concerns how we would match up against Spurs. Having watched the battering that we all witnessed, his concerns were well founded.

It started as the two teams came out onto the pitch side by side. In all most every case (apart from Rom) we looked weaker, shorter and less athletic than than Spurs. This lack of physicality was then displayed all over the pitch. We seemed unable to win any battles anywhere on the pitch. We were bullied in every individual battle and came off second best.

Gana, Baines, Coleman and even the willing Davies were matched against players who were bigger and quicker and often brushed them aside. Even the " physically stronger players" were bested in most challenges. It was hard to watch and must have left an impression on Ronald as he talks about projects etc.

The only reason I can think of why he included Barry is that Ron thought he could bring in a physical presence to play alongside Schneiderln in front of our back 4 but that never worked as Garett could not get anywhere near the white shirts who buzzed around the Blues for 80 minutes.

I certainly cannot work out why Macca was left on the bench for 65 minutes. At least he would have supported Ross in standing up to the "White Hart Lane Bullies". Forget Hull and Stoke, Spurs are now the "Big kids in the premier league playground". But to match their physicality they have an abundance of skill and sharpness.

I hope Ronald can build a team that has the mix of physical and technical abilities that we fell well short of yesterday. WBA will be a chance to show that we can bounce back.

Lastly, buried in all this doom and gloom was the fact Rom is now our highest scorer in the Premier League. Another fantastic finish in a game where he otherwise did very little. Comparisons between him and Kane are meaningless. How many more would Rom score if he played on a team like Spurs?

Onwards and upwards! I do believe Ronald is going in the right direction and what we are watching is always a roller coaster ride but the peaks and troughs are less painful than for many years.

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Brian Williams
1 Posted 06/03/2017 at 18:06:56
Always said "a good big 'un will always beat a good little 'un" and the teams with the physical presence of Spurs have an advantage when those players can also play a bit.

I've been saying for a while that, in the main, we need a pacey, big, imposing midfield to boss games and basically do what Spurs did to us.

Jimmy Salt
2 Posted 06/03/2017 at 19:09:54
Liverpool battered them.

Colin Metcalfe
3 Posted 06/03/2017 at 19:14:21
Sorry but I strongly disagree about big physical players will get the better of you – we are talking about football, not boxing. It's about skill, control and vision – just look at the Barcelona team of 10 years ago with Xavi, Iniesta, Messi etc... not exactly big athletic players!

Like many posters, I was so disappointed with the manner of the loss yesterday. I just wish we could've taken the game to them from the start. Remember, this is the same Spurs that folded within 20mins only 2 weeks ago across the park as the RS ripped them apart by attacking them right through the middle.

I truely believe that we could've got something out of the game yesterday but to start with 3 defensive midfielders was just inviting pressure. Last season, we got away with a point at WHL with Tim Howard having one of his "Secretary of Defence" games and it could be argued we are a much improved team since last season but Koeman got it wrong yesterday and for some reason too many players just didn't perform.

Maybe it's a mental block when playing the so-called 'big six' at their place but it will be interesting to see how Koeman approaches the derby in 3 weeks.

David Pearl
4 Posted 06/03/2017 at 19:14:55
I'm not so sure they are that much more a physical side, bar Dembele and Wanyama. Gana was wasted... his worst game in my opinion.

I think Koeman once again got his tactics wrong. Why have we got so many centre-midfield players on the pitch... how does that ever work? It's really irritating when we set out not to lose instead of setting out to win and show faith in the players... more and more of those he bought into the club.

We tried to pass around our own box and limited the space we played in. We had no width. Baines was too exposed. What was the plan exactly? I'm sure Koeman has the respect of the players. James McCarthy looks a new man. But I want to see some ambition instead of throwing in the towel before we even kicked off. All 3 goals conceded were appalling.

Patrick Murphy
5 Posted 06/03/2017 at 19:15:33
Jimmy (#2),

Yes they did or at least that's what I heard, subtle difference being is that Tottenham are nearly as bad on the road against the top sides as Everton. Had the other lot 'battered' them at White Hart Lane, you may have had a point.

Steve Carse
6 Posted 06/03/2017 at 20:17:14
The 'other lot' did batter them at WHL though, even if it did end up as a draw.

Spurs were good, but no more than that. Before scoring with their first shot they were every bit as ponderous and clueless as we normally are at home when having to break down an organised, defensive opposition.

Thing is with Spurs, they don't do anything particularly clever or unexpected. So we should have been capable of holding our own if organised for the full 90 minutes. Instead we fell apart from the 20th minute onwards and our resolve disappeared.

Mark Rimmer
7 Posted 06/03/2017 at 20:29:48
I don't think it was a lack of physicality at all, the teams that have beaten Spurs did it because they were set up right. We gave them too much respect and played for a hopeful draw, as we have done for many years when it comes to playing the top four away.

I can see Koeman adopting similar tactics for the derby; it wouldn't surprise me at all if Barry plays and we pack the midfield again. As a few have said on here, bar Liverpool, playing the top four/five away is almost like a free hit at the moment, so why not just go for it?

I'd much prefer a valiant loss than a park the bus, spoiler at the moment. It felt like a strange game yesterday, we let Spurs dominate and dictate.

Paul Conway
8 Posted 06/03/2017 at 20:36:22
Another 3 or 4 transfer windows should do it. Probably by which time Lukaku will have won his first league title medal. No-one should begrudge a player of his calibre the honour.
Dave Williams
9 Posted 06/03/2017 at 20:46:54
Liverpool stuffed them because they ran rings around them and Spurs could not impose their physicality because they couldn't get near enough to them to do so.

It will be different at Anfield – they will press at speed but also break on us at speed and the likes of Barry and Williams will struggle to keep up.

The Holy Trinity used to do the same but with far more skill and flair. At the moment we have too many players who aren't able to compete against the big rough approach but they aren't able to move the ball quickly enough either.

It took Catterick a few years to put the Trinity together and Spurs and RS have had to buy an entire midfield so hopefully in a couple of years we will have done the same albeit with a couple of local lads as part of it.

Charlie Lloyd
10 Posted 06/03/2017 at 21:13:53
On any given day, a side can produce a top-draw performance. Tottenham from the first goal till about 65 minutes were as tough a test as we will face all season.

I thought our team was set up to deny the supply lines. I'd have gone for McCarthy over Barry but was happy with how Koeman set them up. Then Kane scores from nothing (Gana was poor at closing down) and the plan is out the window, Spurs gain heart and suddenly were rocking... badly!

It was a tough lesson though. I aree that the physicality of their team combined with the skill they possess is impressive. Hate to say it... but something to aspire to.

Ciarán McGlone
11 Posted 06/03/2017 at 21:23:46
It's an interesting take on Ganas involvenrnt in the first goal.

Frankly, Gana was doing something he's not used to... coming back to challenge for a ball that's between him and his own goal. This was something he was doing for most of the match and mostly from an advanced wing position.

Gana should've been where Barry was for that first goal.

Patrick Murphy
12 Posted 06/03/2017 at 21:29:40
Steve (#6),
Fortunately I missed that game as I was too busy having a few pre-match pints, prior to the Everton v Stoke match, in a pub without Sky, but it's nice to know that we are back on to how good the other lot or should I say Liverpool FC are, now that we've lost at WHL and they beat Arsenal to extend their lead over us.

Doubtless the 'I am not a clown' manager will regain his worshippers following Everton's next away match.

Alun Jones
13 Posted 06/03/2017 at 23:08:47
We were unable to press the ball as effectively as Spurs. Every one of their outfield players was able to do this consistently for 90 mins, whereas for us Lukakuu and Barkley are not, which means Spurs were given more time in possession when building their attacks. They were also physically stronger as stated earlier in this thread and sharper mentally in their thinking.

We were also playing very narrow and so the wide outlet ball was rarely an option as we were relying on the full backs to provide that option and they struggled to do so.

I think this game also exposed our weakness at centre-backboth in terms of composed defending and also their distribution from the back when under a bit of pressure. I think Koeman, however, probably knows this as much as anyone and I'm sure he will look to address some of our deficiencies over the summer.

Don Alexander
14 Posted 06/03/2017 at 23:46:42
We need physical presence and attitude all over the pitch, all the time, and for way too many years is been conspicuously lacking. When I'm pissed off, I call it nastiness. Bally had it by the bucket-load and every opponent knew it if they knew what was good for them.

These days successful teams are full of players with presence. Delli Alli, Wanyama and Dembele are big units, all 6'-2"-ish. The latter two have plenty of presence too. In comparison only Ross and Morgan are of that sort of height across our entire midfield options but Ross ain't noted for "presence", yet, and Morgan's not been with us long enough to judge. Idrissa, Tom, Jimmy Mac and Besic show attitude a-plenty but none are even 6'-0". That's what I hope Koeman and Walsh address in summer, with skill and goals a given too.

Jimmy Salt
15 Posted 07/03/2017 at 07:09:28
Steve @6... exactly.
Phil Walling
16 Posted 07/03/2017 at 08:44:45
Mention of the derby leads me towards thinking that we shall really be able to judge what Koeman is made of. Tactically, I think he's about four levels above Martinez and two above Moyes. But that's not saying much as neither of them shone in their approach to games against RedShite!
Derek Thomas
17 Posted 07/03/2017 at 08:56:56
It's not the size of the dog in the fight, It's the size of the fight in the dog.

Exhibit 'A' Bobby Collins.

If we go into The Derby with the same line up / mind set as last week – well that's Koeman finished for me... or is it. Teams that go there and play 'rope a dope' seem to do well, iirc, the Spurs method saw them get beat... Just not Barry eh, that's all we ask.

Mike Berry
18 Posted 07/03/2017 at 10:42:47
A packed midfield never works unless you don't want to lose – and we still did. The loss of an attacking outlet when set up like we were, played into their hands.

To have an extra attacking option is far better, hence us coming on stronger with the introduction of Macca and Super Kev. I hope Ronald realizes this and does not make the same error, and plays to our strengths. Lukaku needs support!

Oscar Huglin
19 Posted 07/03/2017 at 14:39:33
Small team mentality, against a team that we were on par with only a few years ago, and hasn't won anything significant since.
Stan Schofield
20 Posted 07/03/2017 at 16:24:09
Koeman's job is to set us up to get maximum performance from the players. That happens when he gets his tactics and team selection right. But he didn't get it right on Sunday, and it wasn't an isolated mistake. He needs to approach games to win, not to defend and contain, the latter a recipe for mediocrity.

Unless he gets the tactics and team selection right, the likelihood is that no amount of new signings will maximise our performances. We have a very good squad, and his job is to get the best out of these players NOW. Yes, we do need some new signings for the long haul, but Koeman needs to get the best performance in the short term.

I hope he doesn't repeat his tactical errors, especially in the Derby, or there will be serious concerns about whether he's fitted for the job.

Rob Dolby
21 Posted 10/03/2017 at 11:25:04
Koeman got his tactics wrong plus a couple of individual mistakes cost us. Let's face it, Spurs aren't world beaters but they have got some very good players who, when they play to their strengths, look good... and when they don't, look average.

The mighty Gent knocked them out of Europe due to the energy of their game and stifling Kane. We just invited them onto us which was fatal. It's Barry or Schneiderlin – not both in the same team alongside Gana.

I don't agree with the physical difference, today's refereeing and rules protect smaller players from that side of the game. As someone once said "It's not the size of the man in the fight but the size of the fight in the man".

We are playing a very big physical side tomorrow – let's see how that one pans out.

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