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Three lessons Tottenham Hotspur have learned this season

Ruari Macneil

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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.

 

Life long lover of sport in general with a soft spot for football. A consistent defender of Scottish football as a spectacle. Desperately waiting to see my country qualify for a major tournament.

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Tottenham Hotspur

How can Victor Wanyama revive his Tottenham career after ruling out exit?

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Photo: Getty Images.

2017/18 was a fairly impressive campaign for Tottenham on and off the field as the side adjusted well to playing at Wembley and secured a third placed finish, but one man who ended the season disappointed was midfielder Victor Wanyama.

The Kenya international played only 24 games, only 12 of those starts, and saw himself relegated to the fringes of the team for much of the campaign, sparking speculation that his future at White Hart Lane may be at threat.

“I don’t respond to rumours and all those are rumours to me, I still have a contract with Spurs and that is what I want to see through,” he told Goal.

“I did not have a good season with the team because of injury and my aim now is to work hard during this break and return for next season even stronger and help them perform even better.

“I am happy at Tottenham and I am committed to the team. I am not aware of anything and I am very fine and happy where I am.”

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The holding midfielder will now focus on rebuilding his fitness and getting back into the team, showing the kind of brilliance that was clear for all to see in fits and bursts such as with his goal of the season finish at Anfield.

There is clearly a role for the 26-year-old to play in Tottenham’s squad and if Moussa Dembele’s future is uncertain, he could be one of those set to benefit the most and will have an automatic spot in the team when fully fit.

Having forced Mauricio Pochettino to reconsider his deployment of Eric Dier, moving the England man into defence or in a two man holding role to fit Wanyama in, it’s clear that the coach is a fan of his former Southampton player.

Building fitness and consistency will be crucial for Wanyama and doing so in time for pre-season could be pivotal. If he can do that and get a strong warm-up and preparation under his belt ready for when his team-mates return from World Cup duty, he can start the season in the team and make a statement of intent early on.

Few doubt Wanyama’s quality and no-one will want to see him depart, even if the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea come calling as Goal suggest, but he will have to repay Tottenham for keeping the faith in him throughout a season of frustration for him and show what he can do on a regular basis.

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Ahmed Hegazi would be inadequate Toby Aderweireld replacement

Latest reports are linking the Egyptian with a move to White Hart Lane.

Max Cohen

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Ahmed Hegazi
Photo: Getty Images

As Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Toby Aderweireld becomes more heavily linked with a move away from north London this summer, the club is on the search for a new central defender to fill his boots.

According to The Guardian, one mooted replacement is West Bromwich Albion centre-back Ahmed Hegazi; but Spurs should surely aim higher than a player who was part of a relegated side that sported one of the worst defences in the league.

Hegazi joined the Baggies from Egyptian football at the start of the 2017/18 campaign and became an ever-present at the Hawthorns in his debut season.

The Egyptian international caught the eye with a number of impressive performances at the back, yet was helpless as West Brom finished second-bottom and and suffered relegation to the Championship.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The departure of the Belgian needs to be met with a signing of the highest quality in order for Tottenham to show they can seriously challenge for silverware next season; Ahmed Hegazi simply is an inadequate man for the job.

Being part of a backline that shipped 56 goals in 38 matches, 20 more than Spurs conceded all year and the eighth-worst in the Premier League, is the opposite of an impressive credential.

And with Spurs already singing central defenders Davinson Sanchez and Cameron Carter-Vickers to long-term deals this summer, the acquisition of the 27-year-old Egyptian seemingly makes little sense.

The pursuit of the relegated West Brom defender should surely be called off in favour of higher-profile defensive talents such as Ajax’s Matias de Ligt or other players from Europe’s elite.

The inadequate signing of Ahmed Hegazi from West Brom would do little to help Tottenham Hotspur launch a sustained title challenge in the 2018/19 campaign.

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Mauricio Pochettino’s new contract release clause should concern Tottenham fans

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Photo: Getty Images.

There was the news that all Tottenham fans had been waiting and hoping for on Thursday as it was announced that Mauricio Pochettino had put pen to paper on an extended contract at the club.

The deal will run until 2023, as announced on the club’s official website, and reflects the long-term commitment from both parties after an impressive first four seasons in north London from the Argentinian.

However, fans will come back down to earth with a bump when they read MARCA‘s reports which claim that the contract includes an escape clause which would allow Pochettino to depart the club if Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain come calling.

The report goes on to state that the former Espanyol and Southampton boss is desperate to one day manage the Champions League finalists, whilst his history as a player at PSG would certainly make a move there appealing.

(during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid at Wembley Stadium on November 1, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.

It would be no surprise if either of those huge clubs were to be interested in appointing Pochettino given that he has turned Tottenham into title contenders by spending little and developing young players into world beaters.

A new stadium gives new ambition and hope which could take Spurs to the next level, and whilst that may help to persuade the coach to stay, it could equally catch the eye of those abroad if it provides a platform to finally lift silverware for the first time in his career.

By committing to what could be a nine year stay if he sees out his new deal, Pochettino clearly has no plans to go anywhere just yet.

But with Daniel Levy ready to invest and back his man, it will be a nagging worry knowing that he could depart at any moment if Zinedine Zidane or Thomas Tuchel depart their clubs and Pochettino becomes a target.

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