Usually before a game with Spurs, I get my favourite person to do a pre-match interview for the site. Unfortunately, Jack McInroy rather selfishly blew me out this time because he had to organise his daughter’s first birthday party.
Never one to miss out, though, Jack very kindly exchanged some views with me after the match, and I felt it would be nice to share them. My words are in bold.
I hope this email finds you well.
It would have been nice for this exchange to span both pre- and post-match thoughts, but last week I had to prepare for Xaviere’s first birthday party and South London Hardcore’s Oliver Reed pub crawl. You’ll be pleased to know that both were resounding successes.
I don’t usually attempt to speak for the whole Spurs fanbase, but Sunday afternoon’s result was absolutely crushing for us, there is no doubt about that. A tipping point for our collective enthusiasm and tolerance. Manchester City are probably the best team in the league (despite starting the day in 8th) and I was fully prepared to come away from the Etihad pointless, but the severity of the defeat and the fact that it comes immediately after we lost at home to Newcastle United and leaves us in 9th place with any pretenses of winning the title well and truly dead and buried, has me and my fellow supporters in an unshakeable funk.
We’ll come on to Tottenham’s performance and ongoing struggles in a moment, but first you ought to praise Manchester City. You were excellent.
I’m so pleased the party and the SLHC pub crawl were successes. Most young children are very cute, but Xaviere is particularly beautiful. I do hope to meet her one day.
I agree that City are the best side in the league, but it’s difficult to argue that too vociferously given the fact we’ve lost four games away from home and find ourselves six points off the top. In truth, those defeats have very often come down to fine margins and individual mistakes. There’s only really the Sunderland loss which represented a collective failure (the manager selected the wrong team and pretty much every player played badly), but other than that we’ve been unfortunate. Joe Hart, obviously, has been particularly culpable and has cost us points. Fortunately for us, the other teams in the league haven’t been great, so we still find ourselves near the top despite some poor results.
At home we’ve been remarkably good. The highlights being Newcastle, United, Norwich and now Spurs, where we were overwhelmingly the better side throughout. We’ve seen some thrilling football and it saddens me that there is a (small) proportion of our fanbase who still aren’t sold on the manager. He’s come in and introduced a new style of play, and for me there were bound to be a few teething problems. If we can sort our away form out quickly, I don’t think it’ll be long before each and every City fan is praising Pellegrini.
Against Spurs we had so many players play well, but I was most pleased for Jesus Navas who has struggled a little to adapt. Fernandinho has arguably been our second best player after Aguero and looks like a lot of money very well spent. The scary thing for me today was we were without our best two players: Silva and Kompany.
Normally I would ask what went wrong for your team today, but after a game like that it seems silly. Was it just a bad day at the office, or representative of problems that run deeper? Your goalkeeper, who I’m a big fan of, had one to forget, as did pretty much everybody.
My friend Dan, who is much more attentive than me, says Lloris’s distribution leaves a lot to be desired, so he was not wholly surprised by those two clearances yesterday. The first one we almost recovered from, but Jesus Navas’s finish was absolutely stunning. Usually you might blame the heavy defeat on the fact that we were behind for more than 90 minutes, but had he hit the woodwork I still think we would have lost heavily.
Michael Dawson gives everything and is a good Premier League defender, but he’s not a great one and his shortcomings were exposed on Sunday. Ledley King used to make the defenders around him better and as good as Jan Vertonghen is, he can’t do that.
In midfield Paulinho was very poor again, Lennon and Lamela offered very little again, Soldado was isolated again and Sandro vomited again. We have conceded very few goals this season, but that is a double-edged sword. We’ve achieved the cleansheets because the midfield is packed with battlers and while we’ve often dominated possession, we don’t have the creativity to put the ball in the net. A midfield full of James Milners if you will. Soldado has been better than many have suggested, but the service hasn’t been good enough and really you’d expect a £26 million player to find the net more often regardless.
We’ve underachieved massively in the first third of this season. The new players are not settling in quick enough (or, perish the thought, not as good as we hoped), and AVB is taking too long to find his best eleven. If we had any ideas about getting back in the title race they evaporated yesterday and if we continue playing as we’ll miss out on the top four, which’ll be a tremendous disappointment.
We clashed in the past about your unconditional support of Roberto Mancini, a manager that undeniably flattered to deceive. How can I trust your opinion on Pelligrini? Also, are you known among your colleagues in the media as the guy who takes Instagram pictures of the guy at press conferences?
We clashed because I tried to defend Mancini from what I saw a unfair representation. He is far from perfect, but there was a perception on Twitter and elsewhere that he was some kind of idiot, which is ridiculous. He took over a deeply imbalanced, underachieving side, shipping goals at an incredible rate, and generally looking all over the place and instantly sorted us out before winning a league and FA Cup. That, to me, was a decent job.
You don’t need to trust me where Pellegrini is concerned because you already believe in him. You tweeted me after the first game of the season telling me he’s the right man for the job. 😉
@TypicalCity And now you have the manager too.
— Yids (@Yids) August 24, 2013
I wish I was known for something…anything amongst my colleagues in the media, but I have so far failed to penetrate the clique of national journalists. I’m new. I’m sure one will wave at me eventually. Maybe even smile.
I’m joking, of course, a few have been very kind, such as Jamie Jackson from the Guardian who has given me help whenever I’ve needed it.
I sincerely hope Spurs don’t sack AVB, by the way. He’s a good man and needs some time.
Written by Rob Pollard