With the cheque-book out in the close season, there has been much speculation concerning Tottenham’s ability to finally break the dominance of the top four. Martin Jol’s spending confirms ambition. Thus expectations are high at White Hart Lane. Those expectations brings pressure. Pressure brings fear of making mistakes. Expectations. Pressure. Fear. Not a formula to crack the code of Champions League Qualification.
To do that will require a bit more daring. A bit more belief. Forget about the pressure of qualifying for the Champions League. Set out to play a brand of football that is worthy of the Champions League. That allows the players to express themselves. That Bill Nicholson would be proud of.
The stigma of the fourth place will haunt Tottenham for every year they finish fifth or more. But it will be only when they create Champions League team dynamics, (including decision-making and self-leadership) that they will crack the code.
Martin Jol has it within him to create this potent dynamic. But to do so, he must free himself of the anxiety that comes with being judged on league positions. To remove an element of the control he desires to have over his team and allow spontanaiety and improvisation to flourish. Can he trust his players enough to do this?
If he can, then the Champions League will beckon. On the evidence of their performance at The Stadium Of Light, it’s a big if.