Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed as the new Tottenham boss just 45 days before the season kicked-off, but the Portuguese has made an impressive start to his new role in North London.
After three games, Spurs sit top of the Premier League table boasting an unmatched tally of nine points, with three goals scored and none conceded.
An achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact that this is largely the same group of players viewed as a disjointed mess when Jose Mourinho was sacked earlier this year.
“I have actually just been happy to see the defence stepping up and putting in some consistent performances, even without any new signings yet.
“Of course, once Kane and Son get up to speed, we will be scoring more than one goal per game, but the defensive solidity has to remain if we are to achieve something this season.
“I am thrilled being top but even more so with the three clean sheets and the improved general fitness.”
The former Wolves boss was far from the first choice for the vacancy following the departure of his fellow countryman last May, but Nuno has already shown signs of transforming a squad that appeared to be going nowhere under Jose Mourinho.
He moved quickly to repair any dressing room rifts upon his arrival, looking to recreate the team spirit which was such a big part of his four years in charge at Molineux.
Players and coaches must eat together at the same time in a bid to enhance team spirit, while staff are encouraged to partake in a mandatory fist bump when greeting each other at the stadium or at the training ground.
“I think many were slightly underwhelmed by the original appointment, mainly because we had previously been linked with Conte and Pochettino, but also because of Nuno’s defensive style at Wolves,” explains Seb.
“Having said that, I was still supportive of the decision as a manager well-suited to a rebuild and a manager well-suited to winning with a top team are different.
“Like the early Poch years, Nuno could be the perfect man to drill this side.”
On the field, it appears that Spurs are reaping the rewards from the changes Nuno has introduced behind the scenes.
Over 270 minutes of league football, Tottenham have demonstrated a defensive rigidity that was lacking under Mourinho with players seemingly prepared to fight for each other when they appeared to be at odds just a few months back.
Dele Alli has been brought back in from the cold, while Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez have formed a resolute partnership at the back.
“The mood seems to be growing week by week, but being top of the league helps,” says Seb.
“I guess you only get a real measure of how behind a manager fans are when the results start to dip. What I would say is that most supporters are enjoying seeing us be fit and aggressive again, rather than the lack of stamina and passive play that came with Mourinho.
“The players are clearly working hard and fighting for Nuno, which will always lead to growth.
“The one thing some fans will be itching for is free-flowing and free-scoring games. Hopefully that will come once a certain Mr Harry Kane is fully fit and firing.”
To make his task all the more difficult, Nuno has had to contend with the ongoing Harry Kane transfer saga that would understandably serve as a great distraction for any manager, not least one so new to the job.
The England skipper’s on-off transfer to Manchester City dominated the early weeks of the season with it looking a certainty at one point that the 28-year old would be leaving the club.
But with that move now on ice, for the time being at least, Tottenham fans can once again look forward to Kane and Son teaming up in such devastating fashion as they did last season.
“No matter what you think, Tottenham are a better side with him than without,” explains Seb.
“As for his conduct, I am very aware that we do not know the full story. We don’t know what this gentlemen’s agreement was. We don’t know whether Levy went back on it. We don’t know whether Kane refused to train.
“All we have is a load of different reports and statements saying a lot of different things. Of course, Kane wanted to leave, we all know that.
“However, my gut tells me he was not unprofessional in his decisions this summer and he has denied refusing to train so that’s good enough for me.
“I would never begrudge a player a move as long as they go about it in the right way. Perhaps he could communicate better with us fans next time.”
Away from all the Kane talk, Spurs were able to offload some deadwood this summer with a number of high earners leaving the club.
Toby Alderweireld, Moussa Sissoko, Serge Aurier, Erik Lamela, Joe Hart and Danny Rose all departed while Cristian Romero, Emerson Royal, Bryan Gil, Pierluigi Gollini and Pape Matarr Sarr arrived at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“I think many fans go into the transfer window expecting and demanding the world,” says Seb.
“It was never going to be a summer of huge spending for Spurs as the money simply isn’t there and we have no big European draw.
“I think job number one was clearing out the ageing players and getting them off the wage bill.”
There is still some way to go before the style of football resembles that favoured by Mauricio Pochettino rather than Jose Mourinho, but the green shoots of recovery certainly appear to be there.
And should Nuno and his backroom staff continue on this trajectory, the attritional football that Spurs fans endured over the past two seasons could soon make way for the free-flowing style that the club has always prided itself on.
“Top four is definitely the dream for the season,” explains Seb.
“Spurs want to be back in the Champions League and we don’t even have the Europa as a possible route anymore.
“What I would say is out of those four big teams, I’m sure that one will fall short; one always does. It will be a matter of whether Spurs can put themselves in a position to take advantage of that, or whether we will fall short.
“I would love to see us win a trophy this year, even if it’s the Europa Conference League, and at least challenge for the top four, even if we fall just short.
“The thing we must see this year is growth and improvement; some evidence that a new platform is being created for future success.”
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