Tottenham Hotspur may not have won the Premier League or Champions League this season, but they have most definitely taken a step towards achieving that, picking up some emphatic results along the way.
The rest of Europe will be paying close attention to Spurs from now on, after they recorded a famous victory over back-to-back European champions Real Madrid in the Champions League, going the entire group stage unbeaten with five wins and a draw.
Spurs were very unlucky to have been dumped out of the competition by Juventus after coming back from 2-0 down in the first leg to record an away draw in Turin but, since dropping out of Europe at the hands of last year’s finalists, their season has somewhat fizzled out.
Lots of lessons have been learned from Tottenham’s season, and we have singled out three major things that the club can take forward.
Christian Eriksen is as important to the team as Harry Kane
It is safe to say that Harry Kane steals the show at Spurs, and rightly so, having scored 25 goals or more for the last three league campaigns, challenging the best on the continent for the European Golden Boot. However, it is the work behind Kane from the likes if Eriksen that really keeps the team ticking over and, with 14 strikes of his own this season, the Dane has proved to be invaluable for his club.
Denmark’s Player of the Season for four years running, the 26-year-old is approaching his peak years as a professional footballer, and is also a major assist provider for his side. There are a number of prolific goal-scorers in European football, but it is gems such as Eriksen and Kevin De Bruyne who are of most value to the success of their teams.
It is imperative for Spurs to hold on to Kane if they are to continue working towards being genuine contenders on all fronts, but it is of equal importance that they retain Christian Eriksen, and that he continues performing at the highest level and producing match-winning displays week in, week out.
Spurs are close, but they need silverware to become winners and take them to the next level
Tottenham have proved this season that they are capable of going toe-to-toe with Europe’s elite. A win and a draw against Real Madrid, two victories against Borussia Dortmund and an away draw against Juventus is enough evidence to suggest this. However, one fundamental difference sets Spurs apart from the three teams mentioned above, and it is that Spurs have won nothing in the last decade.
The current Tottenham squad lacks winners, and that is more important than one might think. To take Manchester United as an example, last season their squad possessed players who had won the Premier League title, and others who had won plenty of titles elsewhere. As a result, their winning mentality got them over the line in the League Cup and Europa League, even when they perhaps did not perform to the best of their ability.
The same cannot be said for the Tottenham squad, who barely boast a winner’s medal between them and, until they experience some tangible success, this will always be a barrier standing in their way.
The club must hold on to Mauricio Pochettino
It should go without saying, but Mauricio Pochettino has been the real difference at the club since joining from Southampton in 2014. The Argentine has gone from strength to strength as a manager and built a stunning starting XI in his four seasons at Tottenham, and he should receive great credit for the current state of the club.
Not only has he provided a stable feel around Tottenham, he has also produced a brilliant brand of football, and one that the neutral supporter finds a joy to watch. A winning mentality has definitely been under development for some time at the club and, as already mentioned, it feels as though the club are one trophy away from triggering a silver-laden period.
Pochettino will be in high demand from other clubs due to what he has achieved at Spurs, but with a new stadium to look forward to next season, you could see the 46-year-old remain at the helm for a few years to come. The manager will feel he has unfinished business if he leaves without winning a trophy and, having only been in management for just under a decade, he is still extremely young in the managerial game.