Mauricio Pochettino’s first season in charge of Tottenham finished with five less points than the 2013/14 campaign, but a higher placing in the table.
It was also notable for the emergence of Harry Kane as one of the Premier League’s top strikers, a remarkable 5-3 victory over eventual champions Chelsea, a north London derby win and a Wembley appearance in the Capital One Cup final.
We asked award-winning Tottenham blogger Addicted To Spurs to review the season’s highs and lows.
Overall, has this season been a success or a failure?
It’s difficult to say really. It has been neither a success nor a failure, and that is because we went into this season knowing it was another transition year. A new manager trying out different things with different players, not really knowing who his first choice players were. It’s been a decent season, nothing to overly excite you but it hasn’t disheartened me – with the young players coming through there is potential for the future and that is exciting, so on that front it has been a success, but overall judging on where we have finished in the League, it has been a slight failure.
What, if anything could have been done differently to improve it?
Our home form has been disappointing, especially in the first half of the season – stupid and unnecessary losses have meant that we haven’t really put up a fight for those Champions League spots. Losses to Stoke, Aston Villa and Newcastle at the Lane is something that has dragged us down – and next season we have to make sure that we make White Hart Lane the fortress that it has been in the past. Coming into the final parts of the season there have been improvements on our home form and that is encouraging for next term.
Who was your player of the season?
There’s only one player it can be! Harry Kane has been a revelation this season, not only in the amount of goals he has scored, but scoring them at incredibly important times against big opposition such as Chelsea and Arsenal. His work rate, passion and determination has been a breath of fresh air and at just 21 he has so much more to offer for club and country – and I’m hoping he can further improve next season. Mentions for Danny Rose, Hugo Lloris and Nacer Chadli as well, who have been fantastic this season. Rose, Kane and Chadli would all share my ‘most improved player’ award.
Who must try harder?
There are quite a few players that have had poor seasons, and most of them will probably be gone by the start of next season – Roberto Soldado, Emmanuel Adebayor, Vlad Chiriches, Paulinho etc, but players who are expected to stay, including Kyle Walker, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen have more to give to the side than they did this season in my eyes. Including Eriksen may be seen as a bit harsh but we expect so much from him, and even though he has scored 10+ goals this season, including some crucial ones, he has left a lot to be desired in his all round game – he has the potential to be a world class player, and at times he looks to be fulfilling that but he is inconsistent, and he needs to improve on that next season.
Kyle Walker has had a bad season, after returning from a long term injury it’s expected that you won’t be 100% but he just never got going and defensively he was all over the place; he needs a good pre season and to come back stronger next year – because he is important to the side. Lamela is well documented to have not lived up to his £30 million price tag, and at times this season has looked like a lost cause, but coming into the final part of the season we have seen a different Lamela, he has been tenacious, threatening and has had the final product in the final third – he needs to show this consistently next season – he has the talent.
How have you rated the manager?
I have been very impressed with Pochettino. At times our performances have not been good and the results poor but he knows what he has to do and looks like he has a plan in place. He is ambitious, and has instilled a great mentality within the players, firstly to fight until the end, scoring a shed load of late winners – and also to not be afraid of the big teams, with great performances against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United (home) – this along with the fact he has put his faith in youth to do this, he has developed Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason and Harry Kane into Premier League standard players, as well as helping to improve Danny Rose and Nacer Chadli. There are a load of glimpses that show to me that Pochettino is the right man for the job, and I hope next season he can really turn this Tottenham side into his side, and one that can once again challenge at the top of the Premier League.
The best moment for me is our victory over Arsenal – coming back from 1-0 down to win 2-1, with Harry Kane scoring the equaliser and the late winner was magnificent. A really great moment. Along with that I’d have to say making it to Wembley in the Capital One Cup and also defeating Chelsea 5-3. There have been some amazing moments this season, it’s tough to pick just one!
A: The worst moment for me personally was losing the Capital One Cup final to Chelsea. Even though they were magnificent and deserved to win it is always heartbreaking to lose at Wembley. It was difficult to take. The other bad moments were losing to Stoke 3-0 at the Britannia, and all the disappointing losses at White Hart Lane against the teams below us – they are always bad moments.
Best young player?
Aside from Harry Kane, who is our best young player at 21 years of age, I’m going to say Nabil Bentaleb and Eric Dier; they have both put in some brilliant performances this season – Bentaleb has proved himself in midfield as an incredibly mature player and one that has immense potential at just 20 years of age – and Eric Dier, coming from Portugal into the Premier League has been brilliant at both right back and centre back this season – the 21 year old looks ready made for a fantastic career with both England and Tottenham.
For technique and skill it has to be Erik Lamela’s rabona goal in the Europa League against Asteras Tripolis. It was such a jaw dropping goal, and something not even Lamela could believe that he had actually pulled off! Without doubt goal of the season for sheer quality. But in a big game, against big opposition, I think Harry Kane’s second goal against Chelsea in our 5-3 win was my favourite, the way he turned Gary Cahill with ease and slotted the ball past John Terry and Courtois with such ease made it an incredible goal – so they can share the award for best goal!
Without doubt the 5-3 win over Chelsea at White Hart Lane. Just incredible really, to beat the team that would go on to win the Premier League so emphatically was amazing. It was the best performance from a Tottenham team in many years and it lifted the whole club. Harry Kane, Nacer Chadli, Danny Rose, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen etc were all amazing and we wiped the floor with the best team in the Premier League – it was a great match – one that we will remember for many years to come.
What must happen this summer?
It’s an important summer – both for transfers coming in and out, as well as having a good pre season. We need to let Mauricio Pochettino decide who he wants to leave the club and who he wants to come in – as the man who chooses the side, he needs to pick the players he wants to bring in, otherwise we will have problems once again.
We have to accept that we won’t get a return on our investment on some signings such as Paulinho and Roberto Soldado – and let them go for the sake of the club and themselves as players – we have to be quite ruthless in getting rid of obvious deadwood that won’t play a part in what we hope to be a successful future. Pochettino needs to be able to start building his own squad – but we also need to take into account that too much change will hurt us. It’s going to be a very interesting summer. Oh, and keep hold of Hugo Lloris!