When Tottenham Hotspur were knocked out of the Champions’ League by Juventus in midweek, people quickly started questioning the squad’s bottle and, during their 4-1 win over Bournemouth, Tottenham’s ‘Men of Steel’ showed character and bottle once more this season.
Tottenham’s ‘Men of Steel’
Full of Bottle
Robbie Savage, writing in his column in the Daily Mirror this week, questioned the ‘sympathy’ shown to Spurs within the media and said that “Spurs need to win a trophy soon to keep Harry Kane.”
There was a sense around the Vitality Stadium on Sunday that Tottenham had to bounce back; not just win a game of football, but win it well. Tottenham fans are all too familiar with the notion of ‘Spursy’ which has come to describe their lack of success and ‘bottling’ the big game occasions. In the last twenty years, that assertion is not far from the truth. In the past four seasons under Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham have shown a greater resilience. There have been low moments, not least the now infamous ’Battle of the Bridge’ but where, in the past, a run of bad defeats may follow, it no longer seems appropriate to make that assertion about this Tottenham squad.
Bouncing back in Spurs’ DNA
Spurs had a faltering start to the season as they settled into Wembley and losing at home to Chelsea suggested that the ’Spursy’ DNA was still evident. It just isn’t the case. Spurs went to Old Trafford and lost but then took on Real Madrid at Wembley and outplayed the Spanish Giants in a 3-1 victory. Not very Spursy.
Then came the game that many labelled as a potential classic. Spurs went to Manchester City, already seen as champions-elect even in December, with a great chance to put down a marker of their own intent in this seasons Premier League title race. As with opponents before them, Tottenham never got going and City ran out comfortable 4-1 winners. The response from Pochettino and Tottenham? To go 17 games unbeaten until that defeat to Juventus. It was hardly a reaction of a team with no steel.
Tottenham started slowly against Bournemouth today and were fortunate to be only one down after ten minutes. However, it is not the result, 4-1 winners, that really mattered but the manner of the response.
Harry Kane went off injured and he could be out for a while if it is as it looks, a recurrence of the ankle injury has sidelined him before. Pochettino doesn’t manage a one-man team. He coaches and nurtures a team of individuals who work together for the badge they wear, the shirt they wear. A collective set of players who, far from bottlers, far from a team in crisis, are a team with a stubbornness not associated with past Spurs teams.
This isn’t that Tottenham Hotspur. This is Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur. On 11th March 2018, many were waiting for a capitulation that never came. A capitulation that should no longer be expected.
Yes, trophies are needed but this Tottenham are ‘Men of Steel’.