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Ben Davies reveals how key Tottenham staff are helping squad focus on ending 'desperate' wait

Ben Davies admits he really believed Ange Postecoglou's first year at Tottenham was going to end the club's long trophy drought and has spoken about the structure within the club.

The 31-year-old Welshman can boast - although he won't - that he arrived at Spurs back in 2014 as a trophy winner. He lifted the League Cup at Wembley that year as Swansea City's starting left-back, but Davies has not been able to add to that piece of silverware in his career in his decade in north London.

In a long and insightful YouTube appearance for The Business of Sport, Davies delved into his time at Tottenham and admitted that he thought Postecoglou's work since arriving was going to end that wait for a trophy this year.

"I think the thing that we're always going to have put back at us is lack of trophies and that's far from the want of trying. It's been something that we've been desperate to do for a long time, but it's the biggest thing that we all want at this club. It can be very frustrating for us as players but at the same time you always appreciate that the club has gone through a lot of change," he said.

"We've moved stadium, we spent a couple of years at Wembley. It all felt a bit crazy at the time but I really feel like we've built that foundation now. Things aren't going to happen overnight but we've built that foundation and we have an opportunity in the next couple of years.

"I really thought that this year was our time, but football is an incredibly challenging industry to win. Just spending the biggest money doesn't guarantee you the results. It's about building that team and getting it right. It's probably the hardest thing to do in sport."

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The Wales international was also asked about the role of the sporting director within a football club. Over his 10 years at Spurs, Davies has been exposed to plenty of such types within the club as people have come and gone with Johan Lange the current technical director at Tottenham, after moving from Aston Villa last year.

"At Tottenham, it's changed a lot since I first arrived. I'm probably a good person to speak to in that sense in that I've seen it when there was no real link between the board and the players, whereas now we've had sporting directors come in and I think they have really bridged that gap," said the defender.

"It bridges the gap between the players and [club] management at times. It's a difficult one because ultimately I think it's a better structure to have a sporting director in place. They are linked with the business side of sport, with the needs and wants of the ownership and management of the club, and are somewhat related to the players and the playing side.

"When you're a player in a club, your sole interest is to win games. You shouldn't have any other thoughts about the finances of the club, whether they're going to be ok with financial fair play, who's going to be the manager. You should be in your bubble of 'this is our team, this is our manager and coaches and this is where we're going to stay'.

"Having that link gives you an idea as to where you want to go as a club. I think a sporting director can come in and set up processes that are going to be stuck to, whatever manager you have. I've been at clubs, at Spurs and Swansea, where when a manager came in they had sole discretion on transfers and the way we're going to play and that can change manager to manager.

"Having a sporting director in place, a technical director, or head of recruitment, all those job titles can be quite interchangeable, it puts in a place a framework of how we're going to do it as a club. It would probably sound strange in another business that a new manager could come in and change the whole shape of the business."

He added: "From my experience as a player, I haven't had too many dealings with a sporting director. I've obviously had conversations and semi-serious discussions with some of them, but I've never been in those situations where I get to see the actual day to day. As players you're really put in your bubble and when the sporting director really wants to talk to you it tends to not be so good!"

While things have been chopped and changed at Spurs in the past five years, Davies has been one of the constants and he spoke about his flexibility as a player under various managers and why Mauricio Pochettino came the closest of all of them in his half a decade at the club to reaching the pinnacle of the Premier League.

"I'm very much a player that can follow rules and guidance if that's what the manager wants you to do. You lay it out exactly how you want it and I will try to follow that to the best of my ability. I'm not one of these flair players who wants the freedom to do whatever they want. I like structure and guidance and that can help me. It's just the way I am," admitted the Welshman.

"I think at the level we're at with Spurs that's the bare minimum that a manager will come in with, to lay out how they expect to play and what they expect from you and basically how to do it. That's the basics of what they bring in but the characters have all been completely different.

"Pochettino built an incredible culture there. We had a great team with a lot of young players who all got along with each other. We all gelled perfectly. Yes there was that structure built in but also a big element of freedom as long as it was within the structure. He gave us that freedom with quite a lot of guidance and basically created the perfect environment for us all to thrive as players.

"We were really unlucky that we didn't get over the line at that time with him. The season that Leicester won it, we played some unbelievable football at times and didn't quite do it and the next season when Chelsea won it, we went on a run of nine or 10 wins and Chelsea ended up winning even more. So we felt like we were close.

"Then football is football. In hindsight, the length of time Pochettino was there it feels like an age, given how quickly managers have come and gone, not just at Spurs but in the league in general. I think 18 months is the average tenure a manager gets now. Results are expected quickly. We had Pochettino for five-and-a-half years which meant you knew the lay of the land and you felt comfortable."

The Argentine was suddenly sacked in 2019 and Davies admitted: "We definitely didn't see the Pochettino one coming."

The man that replaced him was Jose Mourinho and the left-back said that while it was a surprise and sad to see the relatively long-serving Pochettino depart, he got well with the incoming Portuguese.

"Mourinho got us straight in and told us some home truths. He was an incredible man manager. He was someone that I really got along with," he said. "I had plenty of long chats with him, sometimes just listening to some of his stories, you're like a fan. You couldn't help but be engrossed. He would take over a room with his stories and he was incredible. It was another way of working and it was very interesting to be around someone like him."

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