Possession may be nine-tenths of the law, but in football terms you have to do something with it.
It is all well and good being neat and tidy on the ball, but if you don’t go anywhere then you are going to struggle to generate positive results.
That would appear to have been part of the problem for Tottenham Hotspur during the opening months of the 2014/15 campaign.
Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival as manager has seen greater emphasis placed on ball retention, but he is also a forward-thinking coach.
Maybe that message got lost in translation as Spurs did not show enough of that side of their game up until December.
They have got plenty of creative talents on their books, and a sprinkling of defensive players who are more than comfortable with a ball at their feet and pushing opponents onto the back foot, but they appeared to be going around in circles at times.
Tottenham cannot be accused of standing still over recent weeks, though, with an upturn in fortune delivering 14 points from a possible 18 in their last six Premier League fixtures.
Opta statistics suggest that a surge through the busy festive period has been sparked by a more attacking approach, with Spurs suddenly heeding the advice of their boss and looking to be more positive.
|Match||Fwd Pass||Backward Pass||Passes Left||Passes Right||Total Pass||Accurate Pass|
|Tottenham||Tottenham vs Burnley||231||93||118||101||613||495|
|Tottenham||Tottenham vs Newcastle||211||65||80||75||556||449|
|Tottenham||Tottenham vs C. Palace||185||68||83||83||605||501|
|Tottenham||West Ham vs Tottenham||185||64||52||53||482||386|
|Tottenham||Tottenham vs Man Utd||182||50||60||68||374||249|
|Tottenham||Tottenham vs Chelsea||182||61||72||67||425||325|
In terms of forward passes made, four of Tottenham’s most productive displays of the season have come in their last six outings.
They have also been moving the ball around a lot more in general, with 600-plus passes made on a more regular basis.
Pochettino will be pleased to see that his methods are finally being rewarded, with Spurs now just two points adrift of the top four and right back in the hunt for Champions League qualification.