Tottenham feel the fear as Wigan not flattered by victory
Tottenham 0 Wigan 1:Someone needs to remind Tottenham’s players the club’s motto is: “To Dare is To Do”. Because too often already this season Spurs’s attitude could instead be captured in one word: anxious.
Andre Villas-Boas invoked it again following this deserved defeat to Wigan.
“Sometimes we’re just not clear in our decision making, it can happen because of anxiety,” he said. “We try to do everything right and we end up doing everything wrong.”
Only goal difference is keeping Tottenham out of the top four but the fear in much of their play suggests they feel they should be lower.
Wigan could have scored three goals in the first half before Ben Watson eventually fired them into the lead in the 56th minute and after that the visitors continued to look the more likely scorers.
“You find yourself on the back foot and this raises the anxiety because you ask yourself: ‘Why don’t you do things properly?’” said Villas-Boas. Good question: why don’t Spurs do things properly?
Roberto Martinez rightly explained Wigan’s formation and diligence denied space to Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon and was perhaps too diplomatic to add that when Tottenham’s wingers are subdued, the rest pose little threat.
Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson are struggling to justify their purchases, and the absence of the injured Mousa Dembele and the sold Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart leaves a gaping creativity void in central midfield.
Spurs’s win at Old Trafford looks like a blip; their only other victories have come against the league’s bottom four and that may be a truer reflection of their present ability.
Boos resounded around the ground when the manager replaced Jermain Defoe with Emmanuel Adebayor straight after Wigan went in front.
“We have been successful in the past with one striker off the other,” said Villas-Boas. “It’s not impossible that we will play with two strikers as we have done in the past. At the moment, it’s a system we haven’t started with.”
Adebayor has not started a game this season, which, in view of the poor form of Sigurdsson and Dempsey, has angered Tottenham supporters. Word is Adebayor is angry too, although Villas-Boas rubbished those rumours and quipped he could show the medical reports to anyone who doubts the club’s claim injury and illness are the main reason the Togolese has yet to start a match this season.
“From the 10 that we’ve played, I think he’s been out for eight of them,” said Villas-Boas.
“We’re quite happy with his attitude, no doubts whatsoever. We have him fit now and hopefully ready for the next upcoming games.”
The next two league games are away to Manchester City and Arsenal. “We will definitely be better in those games because we have an ability to recognise our mistakes and do things better than against Wigan,” insisted Villas-Boas.
Wigan, meanwhile, are making it look unlikely that they will have to stage another late escape from relegation.
“It is very dangerous to do what we normally do, you don’t want to do that,” said Martinez, who attributes this year’s positive start to a change of mindset. – Guardian service