Having disposed of the Head Coach Tim Sherwood at the end of the last campaign, who was the self-proclaimed 'Best Manager Tottenham have ever had', the stage was clear for the recruitment of Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino to take charge. An Argentine who had transformed Southampton in his first full season there, his reputation for playing entertaining football with an emphasis on blooding young players at the club (many who left that summer too) obviously appealed to Daniel Levy and was to bear fruit as the campaign went on.
The season itself was a strange affair, with Tottenham's away form outstanding apart from four heavy defeats, the most surprising at the hands of Stoke City, but the fitness regime Pochettino put in place paid off with the most common score-line being 2-1, normally with a late, late goal for Spurs to win it. The home form was what let Tottenham down to a certain extent. Well, that and an inability to beat some of the weaker teams in the league and the record against the top four, which was poor once more.
The squad that was assembled with defenders Eric Dier, Federico Fazio, Ben Davies, goalkeeper Michael Vorm and midfielder Benjamin Stambouli all played a part, but many squad members went missing through parts of the season. Emmanuel Adebayor was more regularly seen on social media than on the pitch, while he suffered personal issues with his family putting curses on him and his brother holding a knife to his throat to get his money. He was involved in an alleged incident after the Newcastle home match, where, having lost, he waited in the tunnel to speak to some of the French speaking Newcastle players and he was joined by some other Spurs players. When they returned to the Tottenham dressing room, there was a confrontation with rumours that the group of Adebayor, Lennon, Kaboul and Capoue were one one side of the argument. Soon after this, those players were relegated to the fringes of the squad. However, it was not only them, as players such as Dembele, Fazio, Soldado, Stambouli and Chiriches have all been conspicuous by their absence at times during this season.
The issues surrounding the involvement in the Europa League continued to surface, with less successful performances after most Thursday night matches. However, at the moment, this is the only option open to Spurs, as there is not enough consistency to force their way into the top four and achieve Champions League football again.
On the opening day, things couldn't have gone much worse for Spurs. Losing Naughton to a red card for handball and that giving a penalty to West Ham, it looked like it was going to be a long afternoon chasing the game. What transpired was Noble missing the spot kick and then Collins seeing red later in the game, allowing substitute Harry Kane to play a through ball for debutant Dier to go around the keeper and slip the ball into the net in the last minute of the net. It was the first of two league meetings with the Irons this season where we emerged with three points, when there was little to suggest we deserved any of them.
Following this with a 4-0 demolition of a very poor QPR side at the Lane, gave great hope that we might get something from our next match at home to Liverpool. Things didn't go our way and the 0-3 score-line was a wake-up call. Spurs were in control against Sunderland, but a late equaliser off Harry Kane's head gave the Stadium of Light side a point in a game which highlighted the need to kill games off when ahead. The high tempo pressing game that Pochettino favours was being implemented, but to start with, Spurs were perhaps finding it difficult to keep up, with a home defeat by a single goal to WBA and then a point at Arsenal, with Nacer Chadli scoring to put Tottenham ahead and Arsenal having a great deal of fortune in their equaliser.
When Pochettino's former club visited the Lane, Spurs came out on top thanks to Eriksen's goal and then Spurs ran into a train crash at Manchester City (as usual), missing a penalty, having Fazio sent off and Aguero getting his usual goals against us. While that was perhaps not too much of a surprise, the home defeat to Newcastle was. 1-0 up, they conceded an equaliser 12 seconds after the restart and went on to concede again to hand the Magpies all three points. The next league match was Pochettino's self-confessed worst moment. 0-1 down to a struggling Aston Villa side at Villa Park, Chadli scored five minutes from the end with a far post finish to a corner and then in added time, Harry Kane scored a free-kick that deflected off the wall leaving Guzan stranded to give Tottenham a much needed three points.
Things didn't improve though in the next home match, when Stoke were handed a 2-0 lead before Chadli scored a cracker of a volley from a narrow angle at the far post, but it wasn't enough. A 2-1 away win at Hull with a late Eriksen goal saw Tottenham respond well, with the same score-line enough to see off Everton at home, with Soldado getting a rare outing and a goal too. Away to Chelsea, Spurs could have taken an early lead through Kane, but ended up getting beaten 0-3, while a return to the Lane for Crystal Palace's visit ended in stalemate, with Spurs a little lucky to earn a point.
A good little run was put together as the season approached the end of the year, with wins against Swansea (away) with a late Eriksen goal, Burnley at home, away at Leicester and a 0-0 home draw with Manchester United. The high-point of the season came on New Year's Day with a powerful display against Chelsea that ended in a 5-3 win that shocked the runaway leaders of the Premier League. It marked the emergence of Harry Kane as a real force, as he ripped apart the Chelsea defence pairing of Terry and Cahill and the realisation of what Poch's belief could deliver was displayed in a tantalising glimpse to Spurs fans.
But then, in true Tottenham style, the club went to Selhurst Park and lost 1-2 in a match they hardly featured in. Back at home, a late Eriksen goal gave Tottenham a 2-1 victory over Sunderland, while the cup games piled up in between. A trip to the Hawthorns saw Spurs put in one of the best away performances of recent years, with a totally commanding 3-0 win, the first under the Baggies' manager Tony Pulis and then a come from behind win at home against Arsenal courtesy of two Harry Kane goals again saw them approach Liverpool with confidence. But as usual, things didn't go our way and we allowed the Reds to finish the game with a 3-2 win, when we should have got something from the match.
Spurs were grateful for Kane's alertness after he had a last minute penalty saved to grab a 2-2 draw after trailing 0-2 and it showed the fighting characteristics that the Head Coach had instilled and the never say die attitude to score late goals.
A stylish away win at QPR followed and then a 3-2 win over Swansea at the Lane, before an international week, that saw the return to Premier League action play out a tepid 0-0 draw at Burnley. Well organised under Sean Dyche, the Turf Moor club were to end the season in the relegation places and our lack of urgency in this match was typical of some games where Tottenham should be imposing themselves on the opposition in a more forceful manner. Added to the lost points, Kyle Walker picked up a foot injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign (ironically caused by Kieran Trippier, who was to sign for Spurs after the season and become a competitor for the right back slot at Tottenham).
The return of Tim Sherwood to White Hart Lane, now as manager of Aston Villa, produced what was one of the most predictable results of the season ... a 0-1 defeat for Spurs. Aided by some lax marking and a less than vibrant effort, Villa left with three points in their battle against relegation ... and it was results like (especially at home) this that cost us a chance of challenging the top four. To then go to Newcastle and win 3-1 (which was always a game where Spurs could have embarrassed themselves) in front of a two thirds full St. James Park boycotted by home fans and then get a 2-2 draw at Southampton after letting in two soft goals showed the difference when playing Pochettino's system away from the Lane.
Back home, we lost 0-1 to Manchester City, which is a result compared to our recent record against them, but the 0-3 loss at Stoke was one of the most pitiful results of recent times. The Potters are no great shakes, but with Vlad Chiriches sealing his ticket out of N17 with two needless bookings leaving the side to try to recover after letting in a couple of poor goals and then Vertonghen being credited with their third late on. Only a home win over almost relegated Hull City sent the fans home relatively happy after the final home match.
But there was still all to play for in the final game of the season at Goodison Park. Having bumbled around 6th and 7th place for months, a 1-6 defeat at Stoke on the last day of the season for Liverpool, while we were winning 1-0 at their neighbours Everton meant that we jumped over the Reds into fifth and an automatic passage into the Europa League group stages. Inevitably, it was Kane who scored the solitary Spurs goal, after going through a bit of a drought since making his England debut.
In the cups, Spurs bombed out to Leicester at home in the FA Cup Fourth round, but reached the final of the League Cup, only to lose to Chelsea, who set up their side to strangle our threats and snatch a 2-0 win at Wembley. It was a bit of a compliment to us that Mourinho felt it necessary to play an extra central defender, but it was another example of us not being able to find a way past sides who play that way against us. The final came a few days after the Round of 32 away leg against Fiorentina and perhaps Spurs fell between two stalls and having played a weakened side in the first leg, which ended in a draw, they lost 0-2 in Italy and again fell out of the competition at this stage. Maybe a strong showing in the first leg might have allowed a weakened side to go to Florence.
Some say Pochettino lacked a 'Plan B' but tactical changes, if not changes in system did pull points out of the bag and the need to turn some of the dropped points into draws or wins will help push the tally up by the end of the next campaign. It was sometimes frustrating seeing only one striker up front in home matches, which appeared to hand the initiative to the opposition on occasion, leading to our home form being poor compared to how the side performed away from the Lane.
The star performer of the season in most critics eyes was Harry Kane, who burst onto the scene and became Tottenham's focus for scoring goals, but Danny Rose had a very consistent season following the previous campaign, when he received a lot of stick from the fans and looked as though he might be leaving the club. Perhaps Kyle Walker will have a similar season next time out, after some sections of the Tottenham crowd were becoming exasperated with him this season.
Kane stood out, as the team had no other outstanding forward goal-scorer. Eriksen and Chadli chipped in from midfield, but with Soldado not clicking in the Spurs team and going missing from it for long periods, it was left to young Harry to carry the burden of hitting the net, which he did very well. Writers are casting doubt that his second season will be as successful, which is perhaps understandable, as he will be a marked man, but the effort he puts in means that it will not be for the want of trying, although Spurs need to get some support alongside him.
It was not only Harry who made the transition to the first team, but Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb formed a redoubtable defensive midfield pairing, forcing other, more established players into the dug out. Added to that the emergence of the sometimes frustrating Andros Townsend, along with Josh Onomah and Harry Winks getting their debuts in the cups. There is a lot of promise in our youth ranks, with Pochettino being brought in to realise the value there.
With only some of the players being Poch's choice, perhaps this season was an opportunity to see how the existing players would fit into his way of playing and it was soon obvious that a number did not. This summer will be an opportunity to try and clear out a lot of the deadwood who are not up to the task, but more importantly, keeping our best players from leaving for Champions League football if we can. Now surrounded by Paul Mitchell, his recruiter at Southampton, Mauricio might be able to forge his own side and take Spurs on, but the need to stiffen the defence, improve the home record and our performances against the top and bottom sides still remains.
All in all, not a bad season, for all the doom and gloom spread by some fans, but still room for improvement with the spectre of the new ground on the horizon putting more pressure on the club to move into the Champions League regulars, but maybe what the club need more than anything is stability for a period of time.
Eric Dier became the first defender to score in his first two games in the Premier League.
Harry Kane scored in six
successive away games - equalling a Premier League record.
Christian Eriksen covered the most ground in one Premier League game running 13.6km against Swansea City in March. He was the third ranked player in the Premier League with a total of 415.33km distance covered, with one game to play.
Spurs were the only team in the Premier League to have three players who scored 10 or more goals this season (Kane, Eriksen, Chadli).
Premier League Under-21 League
Premier League Academy Under-18 League Group -
MANAGER : - Mauricio POCHETTINO
1. Hugo LLORIS
2. Kyle WALKER
3. Danny ROSE
4. Younes KABOUL
5. Jan VERTONGHEN
6. Vlad CHIRICHES
7. Aaron LENNON
9. Roberto SOLDADO
10. Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
11. Erik LAMELA
12. DeAndre YEDLIN
13. Michel VORM
14. Lewis HOLTBY
15. Eric DIER
16. Kyle NAUGHTON
17. Andros TOWNSEND
18. Harry KANE
19. Mousa DEMBELE
20. Michael DAWSON
21. Federico FAZIO
22. Nacer CHADLI
23. Christian ERIKSEN
24. Brad FRIEDEL
25. Benjamin STAMBOULI
32. Benoit ASSOU-EKOTTO
33. Ben DAVIES
35. Ezekiel FRYERS
38. Ryan MASON
42. Nabil BENTALEB
43. Ryan FREDERICKS
44. Cristian CEBALLOS
45. Jon OBIKA
51. Milos VELJKOVIC
(Subs appearances in brackets)
|Michel VORM (goalkeeper)||Free||Swansea City||23rd July 2014|
|Ben DAVIES (defender)||£10,000,000 (swap for Sigurdsson)||Swansea City||23rd July 2014|
|Eric DIER (defender)||£4,000,000||Sporting Lisbon (Portugal)||31st July 2014|
|DeAndre YEDLIN (defender)||£2,400,000||Seattle Sounders (USA)||13th August 2014|
|Federico FAZIO (defender)||£8,000,000||Sevilla (Spain)||26th August 2014|
|Benjamin STAMBOULI (midfielder)||£4,700,000||Montpelier (France)||1st September 2014|
|PLAYERS WHO LEFT IN THE SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW BEFORE THE SEASON|
|Heurelho GOMES (goalkeeper)||Free||Watford||1st July 2014|
|Jonathan MILES (goalkeeper)||Released||-||Date|
|Lawrence VIGOUROUX (goalkeeper)||Released||Liverpool||Date|
|Liam PRIESTLEY (goalkeeper)||Released||Missouri State University Bears (USA)||Date|
|Kevin STEWART (defender)||Released||Liverpool||Date|
|Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (midfielder)||Released||Swansea City||28th August 2014|
|Cameron LANCASTER (forward)||Released||Stevenage||30th August 2014|
|Darren McQUEEN (midfielder)||Released||Ipswich Town||Date|
|Laste DOMBAXE (midfielder)||Released||To||Date|
|Roman MICHAEL-PERCIL (midfielder)||Released||Concord Rangers||25th August 2014|
|Gylfi SIGURDSSON (midfielder)||£10,00,000 (swap for Davies)||Swansea City||23rd July 2014|
|Jake LIVERMORE (midfielder)||£8,000,000||Hull City||25th June 2014|
|Yago FALQUE (midfielder)||£4,000,000||Genoa (Italy)||1st August 2014|
|Michael DAWSON (defender)||£6,000,000||Hull City||24th August 2014|
|Souleymane COULIBALY (forward)||Undisclosed||Bari (Italy)||1st September 2014|
|Jon OBIKA (forward)||Undisclosed||Swindon Town||1st September 2014|
|SANDRO (midfielder)||£10,000,000||QPR||1st September 2014|
|Ezekiel FRYERS (defender)||£3,000,000||Crystal Palace||1st September 2014|
|PLAYERS WHO LEFT IN THE WINTER TRANSFER WINDOW|
|PLAYERS WHO LEFT ON LOAN|
|Alex PRITCHARD (Brentford)||Grant HALL (Birmingham City)|
|Shaquile COULTHIRST (Southend United)||Jordan ARCHER (Northampton Town)|
|Kenneth McEVOY (Peterborough United)||DeAndre YEDLIN (Seattle Sounders - USA)|
|Ryan FREDERICKS (Middlesbrough)||Tom CARROLL (Swansea City)|
|Tomislav GOMELT (Bari - Italy)||Lewis HOLTBY (SV Hamburg - Germany)|
|Grant WARD (Chicago Fire - USA)||Shaquile COULTHIRST (York City)|
|NEW FIRST YEAR ACADEMY PLAYERS|
|BOARD OF DIRECTORS|
|First Team Coach||-|
|First Team Assistant Coach||-|
|Goalkeeping Coach||Toni JIMINEZ|
|Academy Manager||John McDERMOTT|
|Academy Player Development||-|
|Academy Head of Recruitment||-|
|Academy Performance Manager||-|
|Academy Education & Welfare Officer||-|
|Academy Integration Manager||-|
|Head Academy Physiotherapist||-|
|Academy Fitness Coach||-|
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