Fluidity. One word I've barely breathed in the same sentence as Tottenham Hotspur this season. We'd sacrificed the 'swagger' we'd became known for providing and, in place, had brought on a harder-working and more resilient Spurs side. Resilience is a feat that had rarely become accustomed to Spurs. I still find it hard to associate them with it. The pessimist in me as just waiting for the next disaster to happen or for us to fall off of the PL mountain we'd worked so hard to hike up.
But maybe not.
AVB definitely has something about him. I could sit here and write pages upon pages about how not only has he grown to become far more tactically astute, but how he's given the players far more attention and confidence as the season has worn on. We've just beaten Inter Milan 3-0 at White Hart Lane. Granted, I wouldn't even say they were a shadow of the last Inter side to visit White Hart Lane; they're a far-cry from that shadow. But with us expected to oversee a comfortable victory against an Italian side that had only recently come to England on the back of a draw against AC Milan and a 3-2 win over Catania (after being 2 down), it was easy for complacency to creep into the side.
So often has the past presented us a great chance in which to capitalise on sides that have arrived in a poor state to White Hart Lane that we've just ended up bottling it. So often have we played weaker sides and struggled to find the back of the net.
AVB's successfully drilled a sense of unity within the squad and the belief that they can beat any that sit in front of them. We began the season finding ourselves having to grind out many of our results. We left games that could've mentally damaged us but realised that we can use these disappointments as a foundation in which to learn and build from. As the season has steadily progressed we've looked more natural playing in front of our own fans at home. The rotation of players has seen a fairly fresh 11 starting most weeks without the rustiness that could be the consequence of rotating.
Should Lennon's hamstring prove too much of a brick wall to overcome in time for Liverpool it'll be interesting to see how we set up. I'd test a 4-3-3 with Parker, Holtby & Dembele playing behind Bale, Sigurdsson and Defoe. I know, I'm crazy. I think our only option would be to try and keep it compact. Play to the strengths of our players and have them operating in their more natural positions.
Although, I envisage AVB setting up the side depending on the opposition. I like this new adaptable Tottenham. We're not the predictable side that became sussed out in the latter part of the season last year, fielding the same 11 & operating the same way. We're versatile. We adapt. We become hard to play against. We're slowly finding our feet and finding our own style.
Every week is another learning step on a long learning curve. AVB will make mistakes, but it's hard to argue with the work he's undertaken at Spurs so far.
Ben - You can follow me on Twitter here