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 Posted by Dan Fitch
Aug 6, 2014

Pochettino wisely focusing on defence

New rules on dealing with head injuries have been announced for the upcoming Premier League season following a number of controversies surrounding players staying on the pitch despite having suffered from concussion.

If there's one thing that's clear from the current goings-on at Spurs, it's that Mauricio Pochettino has spent quite a lot of time watching Tottenham's games from last season.

Among the many glaring problems with the team, the chief concern was a defence that seemed to grow less organised by the week. In all, Spurs conceded some 51 goals -- the highest amount since the 2007-08 season when Tottenham finished 11th in the Premier League.

Since arriving at White Hart Lane, Pochettino seems to have made the strengthening of the backline a priority. Ben Davies was brought in to ensure that Spurs have two left backs in the squad like every other proper football club, while Michel Vorm arrived to provide sweeper-keeper cover for Hugo Lloris.

The lack of an alternative to Danny Rose and Brad Friedel's reluctance to leave his line, were both glaringly obvious problems last season. Yet obvious as they were, both Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood failed to rectify them. Pochettino has already ticked them off his to-do list.

Tottenham hope that new additions like Eric Dier will give the team a solid foundation on defence.

Another accepted fact was that Tottenham needed at least one new centre-back this summer and most likely two. Again, it looks like the issue will be dealt with before the season starts. Eric Dier arrived last week from Sporting Lisbon and looks likely to be followed by Villarreal's Mateo Musacchio.

That would take the central defender total to six, which means that a couple would face the axe.

- Crace: Spurs show promising signs

Younes Kaboul is rumoured to be attracting interest from Lazio and that looks like a deal that would suit all parties. It's doubtful that the Frenchman will ever regain the form and fitness he displayed before his injury problems and if Spurs have the chance to get some money back for him, they should take it. The more sedate pace of Serie A might be the ideal destination at this stage of his career.

The other player to make way should be Michael Dawson. A sticking point is the fact that this season is his testimonial year at Tottenham in honour of a full decade of service to the club after this season. Maybe a loan move is the answer. Dawson spends a year getting regular football and can return at the end of the season to have a game played in his honour.

There could also be changes at right back. Kyle Naughton's spells at left back have robbed him of any confidence and even when he plays on his favoured right, he plays it safe and doesn't get forward enough. DeAndre Yedlin from the Seattle Sounders in MLS has been linked with a January move from the Seattle Sounders and could replace Naughton as backup to Kyle Walker.

Pochettino has even tried to sign Morgan Schneiderlin to strengthen Spurs' defensive capabilities in midfield. He seems determined to lay solid foundations for this Tottenham side and considering that he has plenty of attacking talent at his disposal, it's a philosophy that makes sense.

The Argentine's Southampton side conceded five less goals than Spurs last season, despite their lesser resources. It may take time for the new signings to bed in and for the players to adapt to Pochettino's methods, but when they do, Tottenham will be a tighter unit and the points will come.

Dan Fitch

Dan Fitch is a freelance journalist and the founder of TottenhamBlog. A regular at White Hart Lane, he writes about Spurs for ESPN and football in general for Bleacher Report. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DJFitch.

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