Stable dressing room may have helped lift Spurs to lofty position

LONDON • The debate about Tottenham's lack of activity in the last transfer window will continue until the final day of the season.

But, as Spurs travel to Leicester City in the Premier League today, there is a case to be made that their high-flying position is, ironically, in part due to a squad that is unaffected by summer changes.

"It's step by step, try to improve, to rest and be fresh again because that (Leicester) will be another tough game," said manager Mauricio Pochettino, whose team beat Southampton 3-1 to reclaim third place from Chelsea in midweek.

Eyebrows were raised when the London club became the first Premier League club to make no new signings since the transfer window system was introduced in 2003.

Indifferent performances during the opening weeks strengthened the view that, post-World Cup, they were in trouble, with injuries and fatigue affecting key players.

Results, though, have improved significantly over the last six weeks with seven wins in eight matches.

The odd one out in that sequence of wins was last Sunday's painful 4-2 derby defeat by Arsenal and Pochettino admitted tiredness was a factor.

That result aside, Spurs have almost always found a way to win and that is due in no small part to the togetherness generated by a period of extended stability inside the dressing room.

It also helps that with England striker Harry Kane, who scored six goals in those eight games, there is no issue about how best to shape the attack.

Also, the vastly improved form of Moussa Sissoko this season has had the effect of significantly increasing the midfield options.

Meanwhile, British air accident investigators, looking into the cause of the Oct 27 helicopter crash that killed Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others, said on Thursday that the failure of the tail rotor mechanism had caused the pilot to lose control.

"The evidence gathered to date shows that the loss of control of the helicopter resulted from the tail rotor actuator control shaft becoming disconnected from the actuator lever mechanism," the report said of the crash that happened outside the King Power Stadium.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'Stable dressing room may have helped lift Spurs to lofty position'. Print Edition | Subscribe