In the days leading up to the game at White Hart Lane on Sunday, I wrote about the importance of belief for the Tottenham players, and the need to leave any perceived inferiority at the door against Manchester United.
To provide the topic with some nice symmetry, here’s Mousa Dembele discussing the game and reacting to the result – courtesy of Spurs’ official website.
“We played very well and against a team like United it’s not easy. I thought we deserved that point, maybe even the three points.
It wasn’t easy but we had a good mentality to keep playing and keep believing. That’s our strength. In the end, we’re all very happy.
It was pointed out to Mousa that the match ended with a shot count of 23 – 6 in our favour – impressive statistics against United.
We don’t need too many stats. I think we already know we can beat any team.
Okay, we didn’t beat United but we had the confidence to play how we did and that’s why we have the belief to go out and win games like this.”
A draw at home to Manchester United is nothing particularly spectacular, but the manner in which it was achieved was very positive – and it’s heart-warming to hear Dembele speak like this and recognise the importance of positivity.
In seasons gone by, it’s seemed as if Tottenham teams have always believed it good enough to ‘give a good account of themselves’ against United, and weren’t overly-concerned with taking points off them. That’s maybe a mild exaggeration, but it’s undeniable that some of those teams have been emotionally, to borrow Gary Neville’s phrase, ‘soft’ in previous fixtures.
Tottenham didn’t win on Sunday, but they have taken four points off United this season – and they’ve done so by demonstrating some real backbone in both games. Hanging on at Old Trafford is always a challenge, but then so is having to search endlessly for an equaliser against a side to whom ‘seeing-out’ games is second nature.
This team may be short on players in a few areas, but it has some real heart, determination, and – key word – belief.