Unfortunately, if you’re a football fan, any sense of level-headed thinking will go straight out the window with the resumption of the Premier League. We’re all feral in support of our teams, and the horrors that Spurs fans were shown before the lockdown will still be present during Project Restart.
‘God, why did Serge Aurier give away that penalty?’ Well, because he’s Serge Aurier.
Aurier gave away a penalty in the 2-0 win against Manchester City
‘Ah, Lloris should have done better there.’ Yeah, we know Hugo’s got an error in his locker.
‘Seriously? All that time off and Harry’s already down with an injury?’ Yes, Kane does seem to be an injury-prone player, but this isn’t anything new.
And now, with the resumption of the Premier League just days away, it’s important to again apply a bit of perspective to Tottenham. Because for all the ‘the boss at work’ and ‘Harry and Sonny are back’ tweets that have been pumped out during lockdown, they don’t hide the fact that Spurs were undeniably broken before the hiatus.
Jose Mourinho’s side were in quite the rut from mid February to early March. Six games went by and not a single one yielded victory. Instead, there were two defeats to RB Leipzig in the Champions League – the second a dejecting 3-0 thrashing in Germany – an FA Cup exit to Norwich on penalties, a draw at Burnley and losses to fellow top-four hopefuls Chelsea and Wolves.
It was a lifeless performance from Tottenham against RB Leipzig last time out
But all is not lost.
On paper, Tottenham have a kinder run-in than rivals Manchester United, Sheffield United, Chelsea and Arsenal. They also have their two best players fit and available again, with Kane and Son Heung-min getting extra time to recover from their injuries during lockdown.
So there is reason to be optimistic, certainly more optimistic than some fans would have been upon seeing the starting XI for the second leg against Leipzig.
But it’s been a really odd season all in all for Tottenham. A poor start saw Mauricio Pochettino dumped out and Mourinho brought in, and after a bright beginning under the former Chelsea boss, things got a bit more ropey in December and early January.
Kane suffered a hamstring injury on New Year’s Day
Lethargic performances have become a little too commonplace for Tottenham, but they cannot put in such a showing against Manchester United on Friday. It might be their first game back, but it has so much riding on it.
Win, and the gap between Spurs and United shrinks to just one point. Lose, and it grows to seven, leaving Tottenham with a massive deficit to overhaul with just eight games to do it.
So there needs to be attacking intent, as well as defensive nous. It was evident that Tottenham were employing more of a back-foot approach during their 1-1 draw at Burnley, but the reasoning remains a mystery. Spurs have points to make up; there’s no time to waste.
Mourinho still has a lot of convincing to do
Hopefully with the return of Kane and Son, Tottenham fans will see a team with a clear idea and philosophy, and not one that just lumps the ball forward to 5’8 Lucas Moura, hoping the Brazilian can hold on to the ball, despite that not being one of his key strengths.
What Spurs to have is rapid and skilful dribblers in Son, Lucas and Steven Bergwijn, each of whom can do damage with space and good ball on the counter, which could be their best avenue of attack on Friday.
Spurs have to do better than the turgid performances they offered up before lockdown – players missing or not. Five losses in six games is an appalling record. This restart is the perfect opportunity for Mourinho to show he can make Spurs a force ahead of the 2020/21 season, and he has to take it.