This is the way Pre-Season ends: not with a bang but a whimper. Definitely a decent pre-season by most measures., just a pity about the last game. We played 4; won 2; drew one and lost one. However, pre-season is not primarily about winning games.
Antonio Conte will be pleased and most fans: most players bloodied; the starting eleven and formation taking shape; proper workouts and a lot of positives to take if you are inclined to look.
We still haven’t worked out how to manoeuvre in a crowded bus park or how to defend from corners and Jose Mourinho’s game plan to grab a goal and hang on, served him well once again.
Harry should have had a penalty and for his goal, Kulusevski was very marginally offside in the build-up. I know that’s like being a little bit pregnant. Conceding from a corner is a long-standing Achilles Heel affliction that successive managers have failed to cure.
Ceding Eriksen to Utd. was a loss which may come back to haunt us and so is turning away from Maddison a snip at around 50 million.. We need more creativity from the mid-field to open up packed defences and sharper movement and invention when we attack.
Richarlison shows signs that he might be the man with the key to unlocking packed defences and was rightly praised by Conte. Harry, Sonny and Kulusevski sparkled in the early games in South Korea and will hopefully find their form early.
Romero was a rock throughout and the word ‘compassion’ is not in his vocabulary. Not averse to kicking a man when he’s down he leads the back three by example inspiring both Dier and Sanchez to raise their game
But against Roma, we failed to get a shot on target, though the impressive Perisic went close with a couple of speculative efforts. Hugo made brave saves early on, otherwise, we might have been a goal down in the first minute.
Against Rangers, we went 1-0 down and made a good comeback to win 2-1 with a brace by Kane but we couldn’t repeat the trick against Roma though Harry and Romero went close with headers from crosses by Sessegnon and Lenglet and on reflection perhaps should have scored.
The problematic RWB berth is not yet satisfactorily filled though it looks as if Doherty has the first claim. Lenglet was very effective and may well replace the improved, dependable though somewhat limited Davies, sooner rather than later.
The absence again through injury of Oliver Skipp is worrying though even he does not offer the creative option we require,. He is more an upgrade on Hojbjerg. This is a new injury but a concern for a young player all the same.
The other problem I foresee is offloading unwanted players for hard cash or on loan. We have bought well and early but accumulating players is a bit like a drug habit. It becomes an end in itself rather than the answer to a problem.
But sour grapes and spilt milk are not an appetising refreshment and Conte was happy with ‘no injuries’ in his assessment, which is a fairly low bar for success. Perhaps we should let him have the last word.
A win on Saturday against Southampton will surely settle any discontent and many will take the view that if Antonio is truly happy then so are they.
Just a word about ‘SpursPlay’, the best 35 quid’s worth I’ve spent in a long time. Well done Spurs, all the pre-season games, full match catch-ups; documentaries and much, much more as they say,