Nuno Espirito Santo is not the first name on most Tottenham Hotspur fans’ lips when they were dreaming of a Jose Mourinho replacement. But he can provide two years or more service to get Spurs back in the right direction.
Nuno Espirito Santo – The Right Man for the Spurs Job
Draw with Leyton Orient
Nuno’s first game in charge of a Spurs eleven was a low-key 1-1 draw against Leyton Orient. Few first team members were available and even those that did play may not be key members of the squad this coming season. Instead, it was just another pre-season friendly which at times got a little more heated.
Dele is always talked about, for good reason, when it comes to the new manager coming in. He had a decent performance and will no doubt be involved in more of the upcoming friendlies as he looks to flourish again.
Nuno could be the manager to get Dele, as well as Spurs, back on track. The result of the friendly was irrelevant, but it was still good to see an array of Tottenham’s young players on show.
Dane Scarlett got on the scoresheet, after an incisive first time through ball from Lucas Moura. Scarlett’s finish showed great composure. It is hopefully the first for this promising young star.
Nuno Espirito Santo Strong in First Press Conference
The press were quick to ask Nuno the question at the forefront of most fans’ minds.
But the manager’s response was clear. “Harry Kane is our player, period.”
It was a pretty standard answer in truth. He hasn’t actually spoken to Kane, or any of the other players while they were on international duty out of respect.
He later went on to sing from the hymn sheet about Spurs’ DNA.
Nuno said: “What we want is to make our fans proud, to make them enjoy their players, love their players, this is our focus, let’s make our fans proud, to create a good atmosphere, help the players throughout the season and every moment. I think they will enjoy.”
It is almost straight from the PR team’s mouth, this motto of making the fans proud, but crucially making watching Spurs enjoyable again.
PR or not, Nuno continues to promise a style of play that entertains, that keeps fans on the edge of their seats, rather than a results-based snore-fest. This can only be promising after Mourinho left Spurs a dejected mess.
Ideally, though, there is a balance to be struck between enjoyment and success. The last time this was achieved it was under Mauricio Pochettino, but only briefly.
The philosophy of both the fans and players enjoying the football they play is idealistic. There has to be some dirty work and some results ground out. It will take time for Nuno to unpick Mourinho’s mess. A two-year contract may not be long enough to really kick this squad back into top gear.
It is far too early to make any definitive judgements about how many trophies Nuno is going to win at Spurs. But so far the noises that the manager is making indicates that he can help steer the club back on the right track.
Nuno doesn’t necessarily need to solve all of Spurs’ problems, but he needs to re-align the squad to playing expansive, high-tempo football. He also could do with trimming off some of the loose ends and adding a few more exciting players.
Seeing some of the youngest players in the Spurs set-up against Leyton Orient was refreshing. In a game where there was nothing to lose, there was everything for the spectator to gain in watching these budding footballers try to make their mark.
As Nuno said in his first presser, “Even the U23s who are working with us are in my plans, because this is how we build a strong group, because everyone is going to be needed.”
Tottenham may not be able to bring in mega-stars or go immediately into a title challenge, but they can begin to rally around another Pochettino-like presence or at the very least, a football philosophy that brings both enjoyment and success. It just might take some time getting there.