Spurs will still be kicking themselves for losing their last Premier League game against Everton. They needed to hold out for a couple of minutes, 1-0 up, no problem. However, they ended up losing 2-1 as Everton mounted two attacks which proved to be the difference.
William Gallas suggests that this is one of the main reasons why Spurs are not ready to break into the top group of teams in the Premier League. Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all know how to see out games with a narrow advantage or how to get themselves back into a contest with only a couple of minutes left to play.
“Football is a bit funny – I’ve seen the good quality at Tottenham but for some reason, we lose the funny games at home or away and I can’t explain it. We have to pass one more step to be on the [same level as the] top three and I don’t know when it is going to happen. I hope it will this season but it is a shame because when we get very near, something always happens and we draw or lose,” Gallas told the Evening Standard.
His comments suggest that perhaps the problem is a mental one. Players may switch off going into the later stages of matches with an advantage but the Premier League will punish any player or team that tries to accept that the job has been done before the final whistle is eventually blown.
It can’t be anything to do with the quality of the players because Spurs have plenty of attacking talent and defenders that have a large amount of experience despite the fact they have conceded 25 goals home and away so far this season. It’s Andre Villas-Boas’ job more than anything to prevent any sort of immaturity from developing across his team.
Spurs also need a little bit of luck which always helps the top teams stay in their positions and it’s cliché but sometimes teams create their own luck. Tottenham don’t get treated differently from any other club by referees and their officials.
“When I was at Chelsea, we had that luck to win some games even if we were not playing good. But Tottenham is different. I hope it will change this season or next,” he added.
Perhaps Gallas himself should bear this on his shoulders and take the responsibility of leading the side in terms of closing out matches. He is the key figure in the Tottenham defence so he should use the shock of the defeat at Everton to ensure that a similar situation never happens again.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald