There have been many positives for Tottenham and new coach, Mauricio Pochettino, from the early exchanges of pre-season training and the four games played.
Positives for Tottenham
The players appear to have responded well to the arrival of the new manager. Pochettino has frequently praised them for their work in training and yesterday he commended the players on their attitude against the young Celtic side.
Some of the players who disappointed last season have stepped up to the challenge of showing that they are better than their form over the past twelve months has suggested. Erik Lamela and Etienne Capoue who were hampered by injury last year have impressed in the pre-season games. Lamela is playing with a smile and a confidence that was absent last season while Etienne Capoue is showing an appetite for the game in the defensive midfield role.
In the absence of the players who were involved at the World Cup, the younger players have been given a chance to impress and have taken the opportunity. Ryan Mason has had a number of games to show what he can do and Milos Veljkovic has looked very comfortable in central defence where Spurs will still be short of cover unless some of the rumoured signings are completed. Harry Kane has carried on from where he left off at the end of last season and Andros Townsend is playing as he did in the early part of last season.
While Pochettino has been giving players the chance to build up their match fitness, the team has been playing with a much improved style. The passing has been much crisper, attempting to play the ball forward quickly rather than just retaining possession with sideways and backwards passes.
There has been good movement by the players and signs that they are adapting to the requirements of the pressing game which Pochettino favours. Lewis Holtby and Capoue have both shown a desire to work and harry the opposition. They have worked hard as a team and showed the willingness to keep going in the first two games to avoid defeat against Seattle Sounders and grab victory in Toronto.
After initial difficulties when playing the ball out from the back in the first tour game when Spurs frequently played themselves into trouble, there has been greater control and accuracy in the passing allowing Spurs to retain possession and bud from the back.
While there has been the usual surplus of rumours about transfers in and out of Tottenham, the deals which have been completed have tried to resolve problem areas within the squad. The signing of Ben Davies was in response to the need for a left-back while Eric Dier will provide additional cover in the centre of defence. The departure of Jake Livermore, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Iago Falque has reduced the number of midfield players at White Hart Lane, an area where Spurs are over manned so more may well leave.
The pre-season preparations have brought positives for Tottenham in what has come across as a calm and controlled environment. The challenge for Mauricio Pochettino over the next fortnight in the build-up to the opening game at West Ham will be to integrate the World Cup players into the squad and maintain the harmony among the players.
In the next two weeks he has to decide on his best team for the Upton Park game and the early weeks of the season. It is then that some of the players who have worked hard and impressed in pre-season but aren’t selected may start to ask questions about their future prospects.
A tough challenge for Mauricio Pochettino with some very difficult decisions to make.