Tanganga: If Tottenham Hotspur Win a Trophy So Be It

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Japhet Tanganga of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Vincent Mignott/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Japhet Tanganga of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Vincent Mignott/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

Young Tottenham Hotspur defender Japhet Tanganga is so focused on winning each game, he made winning a trophy just another day at the office.

Tottenham Hotspur have been working hard to change their mentality over the last year plus since they lost the Champions League Final and José Mourinho arrived to N17. Part of that mentality is treating every game like it is a final, then a final becomes like every game. Young academy product Japhet Tanganga took that idea to the extreme in his ten plus minutes with the media in advance of the final Europa League groups stage match.

Tottenham and the Game-By-Game Mindset

The comment really was quite innocent but reflects just how ingrained this concept of winning one game at a time is at Hotspur Way. Japhet Tanganga had been asked about winning the group and how that might influence the draw, when like his coach only minutes before he responded saying “it doesn’t matter who comes out of the draw, because our mindset is to go into the game and win”.

Tanganga went on that it did not matter the game or the opponent, the “objective is to go in there and make sure we try and win”. This is when Tanganga started connecting the dots for us. He continued, “if we keep winning game-by-game and it takes us to the final and we win that game and we win a trophy so be”. So be it, Eric Dier as speaking a month ago in the same position about how he would be devastated, and his career would not be complete if he did not win a trophy.

Now some of this is the naivety of youth with Tanganga, whereas Dier has seen how hard it is to win a title at this level. But most of it is just the mindset being instilled and Tanganga has it to as he finished his statement that the team’s “main focus is literally just game-by-game no matter the opponent our main objective is to try and win”.

Juxtapose this growing winning mentality with what Tottenham had before, where the team was literally walking over hot coals to sike themselves up for a final and you cannot help but be excited about the days ahead for this team.

Playing for José Mourinho

As a young footballer it must be thrilling to play for a coach as renowned as José Mourinho and you cannot fake the excitement in his voice when talking about playing for his coach. Japhet talked about the “attention” Mourinho pays to the game and how that has taught him so much about the “tactical side – you know game awareness side” which can clearly be seen on the field in Tanganga and other defenders.

Tanganga also talked about how José has helped the team learn how “to manage the game tactically to be a bit smarter”. This speaks to the comfort with the approach over the last few weeks and the understanding that there is something much bigger at work here than how ‘pretty’ a team may look on any given day.

Ultimately, the biggest compliment was probably Tanganga’s last words on José as he said that he wishes “to continue working with him because honestly its amazing”. You hear those words and then read reports about the idea of Pochettino wanting to raid Tottenham from his next destination and you almost want to laugh. Almost – we all respect Poch too much for that – but clearly this team is finding something that was previously missing and it  would be strange to leave now, just when the team is on the cusp of something great.

Tanganga is just the latest player to come out and share the message of the manager in their own words and in their own way. It is simply great to have the defender back healthy and playing and we now know he feels the same way. And while Tanganga has enjoyed playing in Europa League a lot, he also knows he has a got to do, which is to go win a game.