23 abril, 2018
Mauricio Pochettino stood on the edge of his technical area, arms folded, waiting, as the clock ticked down. Just get over the line, Tottenham. That had been the order of the night. Securing Champions League football, a precious housewarming present to take back to N17 for next season, was at the forefront of everybody’s mind.
The outpouring of elation at the final whistle was all about that, all about a marker to help Tottenham in this http://www.tennesseetitansauth…..rsey-elite period of seismic change for the club. Champions League qualification is always a boon, but it was especially appreciated when the news was confirmed at Wembley thanks to Chelsea hitting the brakes at Stamford Bridge because it feels like it’s about something bigger than one campaign in everybody’s favourite European competition.
The idea that an elite club’s ambitions live or die by the Champions League is a bit hysterical at a time when the old top four have turned into a high-ambition six who rightly enter each season thinking they ought to be a contender for a Champions League position. But Tottenham’s prospects seem tangled up in the chase more intensely than the others because of their stadium rebuild.
The what-ifs can go away for a while. What if Tottenham didn’t make the Champions League and missed out on both revenue and pull as they begin a new era in a new home? What if Daniel Levy had to consider bids for the most coveted talent mindful of the costs of debt repayment? What if Pochettino found his head could be turned now he is used to an environment where his team can make high-impact memories like beating Real Madrid or drawing at Juventus? Those what-ifs evaporated when Harry Kane found one of his accomplished finishes to decide a tensely fought game where a high-energy Newcastle caused umpteen scares.
For some perspective, in the pre-Pochettino Scott Stevens Jersey era Tottenham had only ever made it to the Champions League once, and at the end of the night they assured themselves a third successive season in the competition. They were desperate not to lose status that had been a long time coming.
Spurs’s form had been fluffy going into this final week of the season, with points frittered away, allowing doubts to gnaw away. Having been in a comfortable top-four position all season, the fear began to take hold. Don’t mess it up. Now is not the time. The noise of crackling urgency shuddered through the home crowd early on as Jonjo Shelvey’s thumping free-kick clipped the outside of a post. The Newcastle midfielder thrust his head in his hands. He knew it was fractions from perfection. Tottenham’s stress began to show.
Some of the twitchiness stemmed from a reorganised midfield, with Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama paired to compensate for the absence of Eric Dier and Mousa Dembélé. Newcastle were http://www.canucksteamproshop……und_Jersey boxing clever, a performance with sufficient focus to suggest this team were Mark Herzlich Jersey playing to impress for next season rather than minds wandering to the beach.
Tottenham needed to find some rhythm but it didn’t come easily. Half an hour gone a sign that they Alex Okafor Jersey were off key came when Ben Davies received the ball, looked up to build some kind of a move and just lumped the ball forward to nobody. That was not the style Tottenham aspire to. Kane’s sureness of touch eluded him when he was in for a one-v-one. It was nervy.
Kane rediscovered his touch to unshackle Tottenham from their anxiety in the second half with one of those unerring moments of striking clarity. He sidefooted the ball with crisp curl. The team’s body language changed in that instant. Suddenly they were all calling for the ball, pointing for it, wanting it.
Tottenham will finish as the top London club for the first time in 23 years. The last time they had the capital’s bragging rights dates back to 1994‑95, when they finished seventh (just above QPR and Wimbledon), since the season Blackburn won the title. Modern Tottenham want to continue to look up. Levy has not historically used Champions League qualification as essential to the sums for the season, but there is no doubting how easy it is to get used to all this.
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