Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Are Spurs developing an international hoodoo?

What is it with international breaks? They seem to bring out the worst in us.

Before Spurs' shocking 3-0 home defeat to West Ham, our last lacklustre performance and disappointing result was against Arsenal (before they got good).

That too was on the brink of an international gap, which meant stewing on an adverse result for a fortnight.

But why the dips in form before national games?

We've been racking our brains for three days now - that's how long it takes to gather reasonable thoughts after a result like Sunday's.

Had we clicked "publish" any earlier, this article would have been top heavy with four-letter cuss words and dogs abuse levelled at everyone from complacent midfielders to the head of police at White Hart Lane.

Three days' wait may have resulted in a more acceptable thought process but it hasn't landed on an answer.

Maybe the impending break with their international buddies drives players to distraction - like at school, when the excitement over holidays rendered the last few days of term a write-off.

Or, in the case of our England contingent, does the mere thought of the national team turn any previous good form to dust? 

The message from the club seems to be complacency. 

After the match, manager Andre Villas-Boas diplomatically referred to the result as a "wake-up call".

We'll know who he thinks needs waking up as they won't start against Aston Villa next Sunday.

We've got sympathy for Jermain Defoe, as he played his way into the starting line-up and failed to fire.

His critics will use that as ammunition to say he can't cut it in the Premier League side.

But in reality, a passive midfield - and the lack of his puppet master Lewis Holtby pulling the strings - probably didn't help.

The line-up was not the problem, so much as the attitude.

Mousa Dembele insisted that to be champions, you have to motivate yourself for the "small games". 

Frankly, that perspective stinks. For champions, there are NO small games.

With two weeks to think about it, maybe that will have sunk in by the time we're back in action.

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