I’ve had worse weeks.
I was ridiculously nervous about the final. I don’t think you can really enjoy a cup final against your fiercest rival — not unless you’re 3-0 up and cruising. The first half did little to ease my nerves. We weren’t playing badly but neither did we seem to be creating many chances. We were containing them, at least, which was a relief — not a whiff of the horror show at the Lane a few weeks ago. Jose was never going to allow that to happen again.
Still, I was wound up so tightly, I flinched every time they ventured forward and my fists were clenched so tightly, my nails were actually cutting into the palms of my hands. We could not lose to Spurs, WE COULD NOT LOSE TO SPURS.
But as soon as John Terry found the back of the net, the tension just dissipated. I felt calm and confident.
It was important to win, and not just because this was Spurs. The league will be won by the team with superior mental strength. Winning finals at Wembley can only help in that department. Especially after a stumble like the Burnley game.
Of course City stumbled themselves this weekend and it was a pretty significant stumble too. But with West Ham this Wednesday, we need to take full advantage.
Of course what made this win even more delicious was that the Tottenham fans were totally convinced they were going to win. They failed to grasp that the 5-3 game was one of those freaks of nature that you will never see again in a lifetime — a Brigadoon game, if you will.
Tottenham were too gung-ho and seemed to forget that in that Brigadoon game, they still managed to concede three goals. They are heavily overreliant on the “Hurrikane” and when he was effectively nullified, they had little to offer.
Truth be told, we didn’t even really play that well as such, but we controlled the game, and scored at critical times and that was that.
Jose is well known for the dossiers he and his coaching team produce on every opponent. These dossiers are used to drill in the weaknesses to exploit.
This process may be more difficult than usual for West Ham, who have been such a Jekyll and Hyde side this season and now look distinctly mediocre, with Andy Carroll injured. We need to win this game. The end of the season is approaching fast and that means less time to make up for any slips.
But let me bask in our cup win for just a few hours before thinking about the run-in. The League Cup was, of course, the first trophy Jose won at the club and heralded the beginning of a golden era.
It’s difficult to believe that Terry was his captain then and 10 years on, he’s still here, still leading by example, still defying time and the inevitable wear on his body, still excelling and being the yardstick defenders are measured against.
He rightly claimed the man-of-the-match award at the final — he scored, he defended imperiously, he marshalled that team with just one aim in mind: to win.
I can only hope that they perfect human cloning before he succumbs to old Father Time. Discussions are underway for another one-year extension to his contract. There should be no need for any discussion — give him what he wants. Hazard is a superstar, Costa is a legend in the making, but JT is our talisman, our leader, our legend.
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