Lack of mental strength or ability?

Biggest hurdle


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    144
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dontcallme

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Mar 18, 2005
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Thread starter #1
So we are third in the league despite a tough season with injuries, World Cup hangover, no signings or home ground.

So things are good but naturally we want to improve.

Lots of talk of certain players not being good enough and also about us not having the mental strength to get over the next line.

So is our squad quality or mentality our biggest hurdle right now?
 
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#2
What I find odd is that despite different players and different managers over the years, we still seem to fall short in the big moments. We've had a few quality wins away to City and Chelsea in recent seasons but they've been exception rather than the rule and if I'm honest I didn't feel confident going into last night.

We still seem to be a bit "Dr Tottenham" in that a club at it's lowest, like Chelsea were last night, can still roll us over and to make matters worse it was largely through our own doing.

We rarely get hammered anymore but when we do lose I tend to feel like we'll make sure we beat ourselves before any other team beats us and that's frustrating.

To answer the original question though - it's both IMO, so I'd add that as an option.

We lack leaders. I think Eric Dier might be the only player we have with proper leadership qualities.

Lloris, Kane, Alli, Eriksen, JV, Toby, Sonny, Winks are all super talented but all of them are "nice guys". Alli has a naughty streak in him but he's not a leader.
 

double0

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#3
I believe the abilities are within the squad but the mental strength as we see season after season isn't there. Our record against the top 6 is laughable and the amount of games we've lost this season show a fragile underbelly
 

shelfboy68

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#4
I think the problem is both personally as poster's have previously said the club has faltered for years at crucial moment's and has held us back in progressing further.
 

Japhet

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#5
Both. We've punched well above our weight for quite a few seasons now but we still seem to lack belief at the crucial moments. We have weak areas on the pitch and a general lack of quality options. You often see DeBruyne, Sane, Bernardo Silva, Jesus etc. sat on the Man City bench and we simply can't compete with that and I don't expect us to, but I'm sure we can afford a few decent upgrades.
 
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#6
We need more of the Dele Alli types. Players who will not be bullied and also that will not be afraid to kick the sh*t out of someone when it's needed. One game that has been stuck in my head the last year is the Juventus game at home in the CL last season when they turned things around in 3 (!) minutes. After the game Poch said that Juve are "Specialists in football dark arts while we were the nice people" in regards of putting pressure on the referee. There you have it.

This is just one example where teams roll us over. The big boys know our weaknesses and it's costing us big time so I would say that the majority of the problem is a big mental one.
 

Kiedis

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#7
People tend to remember the times we've faltered better than the times we prevailed, that's for sure. Just being third and with one foot in the CL quarter finals after the circumstances this season shows immense mental strength over a long period of time.

When we lose at Burnley, it's held up as proof that "we fail when it finally start to matter!", whereas the stretch where we had to dig deep to win vs. Fulham, Watford, Newcastle and Leicester somehow didn't matter, because we won. Or something.

I totally get some of the noise and frustration after the Chelsea game though. Because we were far more comfortable yesterday than vs. Burnley, but going into the last 30 minutes, where Chelsea would definitely tire (as they did in the first half), it just seemed like we were hell bent on conceding. Reminded of when we played some of the genuinely good Chelsea sides of about ten years ago.
 

easley91

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#8
Definitely mental more than ability. We have got results against some big, big teams the past few years. We wouldn't have had consistent top 3 finishes, semi-finals and a final without having the ability. It's not a case of zero mentality either, with all the off the pitch nonsense this season we got to a semi-final, 3rd in the league and are halfway to a CL quarter final. We came back from the dead in our CL group. That shows we are capable. More than we used to be, certainly.

It's those games where we're a win away from getting there, that something just goes missing. These are not bad or terrible players, nine of them featured in the World Cup semi-finals at the minimum just last summer.

Even at half-time last night, maybe I am on my own with this, but I thought it looked winnable. First half we defended solidly, grew into the game with more possession as it wore on. Two stupid mistakes and we lose 2-0. I maintain Chelsea are not that much better than us, certainly more even than it used to be. I put last night down to two mistakes and away at an opposition that finds motivation against us.
 

Everlasting Seconds

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#9
Both an issue, but talking about the singular biggest problem (whilst still knowing that there isn't just one problem), I think it's squad quality. These are seasoned, experienced guys, capable of really great stuff, and mentality shouldn't be a bigger problem than pure quality.
 
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#10
We do struggle when we seem to get a bit ahead of ourselves. The loss to Watford after Old Trafford and then losing to Burnley after beating Dortmund being two prime examples that Poch sensed were coming from his pregame comments.

All in all though, we’ve consistently finished above where we should have, in terms of finances, and we’ve won a lot of big games to rivals, maybe not enough away from home, but then those teams don’t lose many games at home too.
 

Vincent30

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#11
It's a tough one as until recently we have had the best away record in the league, quite likely we might still have. To be a strong away team you need huge amounts of mental strength.

I really think when we have our home back, we would have benefitted hugely from these past two season which feel like every game as an away fixture.

A magnitude of things can be said for why we sometimes break down in the big games or just as we get close to winning something:

No home stadium
No new signings to freshen up the squad and keep others on their toes
No new signings to add quality depth to the squad
Unfortunate injuries this season especially

Do you think the other team around us - City, Liverpool, Chelsea, United, Arsenal would have accumulated the same number of points they have without their home stadiums and playing at Wembley. No way.

We are in transition still from the top 8 club we used to be, to becoming this regular top 4/5 club and really mixing it with the big boys and challenging. This doesn't happen over night and as much as i think SAF was the best manager the world has seen, he would have struggled to do what he did in the current climate with the likes of Chelsea and City having stupid money, coupled with the established bigger clubs in the league like Liverpool. To win anything currently is so difficult.

But, if we can keep Poch and invest wisely over the next few years that will change. Slowly the mentality is changing that we are a big club and you can't go from medium to large club wise overnight.

Whilst it is hugely frustrating at times, in time we will be fine and celebrating some silverware.

You add two full backs of serious quality, CM and AM who can really dribble at pace to this team and we have a very very good squad. The mental strength will come with that.

Look at Chelsea this year, have they actually had any injuries at all? Look where they are and what they are winning..... nothing. With the money they have spent and the wages they pay their fans should be so down beat at their club.
 

Klinsmannic

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#12
Both.
-Fullbacks: not good enough (except Rose).
-Midfield: no elite quality ball carrier or forward passer (why let Dembele go??)
-Attack: no elite quality dribbler to twist and turn and instill panic into the opposition.

Mentality is also questionable as we have too many games where we show no fight.

The above issues are all solvable.
 

Styopa

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#13
I don't really see this as a case of us "bottling it". Unfortunately we met Burnley at a bad time - they hadn't been beaten in the league since Boxing Day and had picked up an average of 2.14 points per game in the preceding 7 matches. That's Champions League form! Chelsea on the other hand never make things easy for us and their home form is pretty good - they've only lost once at home in the league all season and they've beaten Arsenal and Man City and drawn with Liverpool and Man U at the Bridge. Some perspective is needed then. These weren't total shocks. What was disappointing was how poorly we played but then again there have been other times this season we have played poorly and got away with it. A bit of extra quality (a fit Dele) for example, or a peak Dembele, could have made the difference between us getting no points and getting something. So overall I'd say it's a quality thing rather than mentality.
 

wrd

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#15
Maybe we are just simply the 3rd best team in the league and it's interesting to me how so rarely the same questions are asked of the 17 teams below us.
 

punkisback

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#16
I think the Leicester season it was mental strength as was the Chelsea season. The season city won we gained mental strength and lost ability as other teams have improved. This season we have lacked both.
 

Hakkz

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#17
Looking at a club like Atletico, what was it that tipped them over from just being a club playing some good football to being constant challengers in league and cups? I feel we aren't that much different from them, except Simeone managed to actually start winning stuff.
 

brendanb50

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#18
Both an issue, but talking about the singular biggest problem (whilst still knowing that there isn't just one problem), I think it's squad quality. These are seasoned, experienced guys, capable of really great stuff, and mentality shouldn't be a bigger problem than pure quality.
Agreed with this and that both aspects are a bit of an issue.

I think we do lack that killer mentality to a degree, a few players in particular are still a way off this level but i think we need more options off the bench to change a game and create real competition in the squad, that for me is a bigger issue at the moment.

I've been happy with some of the younger players we've bought in recent years (not recent windows obviously) but i feel we could kill 2 birds with one stone here if the right player with that quality and winning calibre were available. It's a bit of a Arry number but adding something like that in the short term could spark that shift we're needing. I'm dreaming anyway as i think it's unlikely but a Modric style player would be perfect.
 

wrd

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#20
Looking at a club like Atletico, what was it that tipped them over from just being a club playing some good football to being constant challengers in league and cups? I feel we aren't that much different from them, except Simeone managed to actually start winning stuff.
They have a significantly higher quality of squad all around than we do and their game is based on a strict defensive approach. Our fans would cry watching that weekly.
 
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