Despite a frustrating 2-1 defeat at home to Newcastle at the weekend, it has been an overwhelmingly positive season for Tottenham so far.
A stretch of 14 matches unbeaten in the Premier League can used to suggest that Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be more resilient this term, while the forging of a collective team spirit is evident on the pitch.
With a young and able squad at the Argentine’s disposal, there is every reason to believe that the North London outfit can finally ditch the nearleymen tag and finish in the top four this term.
However, a key reason for Spurs’ stellar showings this season has been Pochettino’s focus on group fitness and the subsequent attributes that this offers Tottenham as a team.
The former Southampton trainer prioritised added fitness work in the off-season to have his young side capable of lots of running, which has helped him to install his philosophy at White Hart Lane.
Pochettino urges his side to press the opposition high up the pitch, with the dual benefit of stalling the opposition’s attacking play and winning back possession in dangerous areas.
This tactic was deployed last season but not all the players bought into it; this campaign has been a different story, with the strikers and midfielders getting through their lion’s share of work in every game thanks to bolstered fitness.
The Newcastle game aside, it has been evident that Tottenham have had running in the tank late in Premier League games this season, which has helped the energetic and youthful side win points.
Participation in the Europa League and the subsequent increase in fixtures also means that Pochettino needs a squad with high fitness levels.
Over recent campaigns Spurs have had poor results in the Premier League games directly after European action, but this had improved this season before the defeat at the hands of Steve McClaren’s men.
The focus on endurance training has this Tottenham team as a mobile and persistent opponent, with the fans respecting the fact that the players will work to their maximum for 90 minutes and outrun the opposition.
Pochettino’s tactics can be successful but they are also draining, which was proved last year as North London side ran out of steam to some degree towards the business end of the campaign.
With a manic festive season schedule on the way and cup competitions ramping up, Spurs’ collective endeavour and desire is set to be put to the test, but their impressive levels of fitness can only be seen as a positive in the hunt for success.