While Spurs, in their opening Champions League match, flattered to deceive on the pitch some were more interested in the off field numbers that was more of an embarrassment.
Yes, they were packed into Wembley, but how many of ’em were happy?
From the fifteenth minute up until most of the 85,011 got home, some hours later, I doubt many of them were joyous that the number broke some attendance record that nobody bothered about previously.
Pochettino doesn’t want to blame the stadium, nor the pitch, where of course Spurs have a pretty awful record since it newly opened. It’s not the narrow confines of White Hart Lane where the pressing game is probably a bit easier but at times you feel the lack of space inhibits them.
Plenty of space at Wembley, which of course they didn’t utilise.
Looking for the sort of performance that saw Monaco put away by 4-1 a little under a year ago in the Europa League and put four past Stoke at the weekend, it could have been oh, so different if Son had kept his form from that game.
About eight minutes in a nice bit of sweeping counter attacking, saw Kane cross the ball from wide right, missing the advancing Eriksen in the middle the ball landed at Son’s feet on the left, his weak shot was easily cut out by the retreating defender.
That goes in, everyone settles down, things turn out differently.
What followed, for most of the game, was the usual duffed chances, after struggling to get the ball out of their feet.
The mood changed just a quarter of an hour in when Lamela sloppily gave the ball away in the middle of the park, Silva brushed off Davies and then was bizarrely shown inside, towards the goal by Vertonghen. His shot gave Hugo no chance.
The middle of the park, ah yes. Many speculate that having a pair of defensive midfielders in there would have been better. Even though it hasn’t exactly worked previously. It didn’t stop attacks and well it was even worse going forward. Though Alli in there isn’t the best either. He needs to be forward, closer to Kane who was again isolated. With him not playing so far this season probably not feasible to start Dembele.
Monaco had come to flat back ten it, with a goal lead that plan wasn’t going to change.
Just 15 minutes later their task was that bit easier as the lead doubled. Slack from a throw, Eriksen covered the recipient of the throw while Walker minced around doing nothing as the ball went back to the thrower, less than half arsed attempt by Walker to block the cross, it landed in the box as Vertonghen looked to be playing the man and not the ball and it’s slammed over Hugo.
Saw some praise Walker during the game and the morning after, dear god, what are they watching. Clueless, him and them. Idiotic offsides, inept defending, even worse crosses. Oh, I forgot he can run fast. A serious upgrade is required, a fullback with a brain.
Monaco’s plan had a little wobble just before the break when Toby powered in Lamela’s corner. But there was no celebration from Pochettino, just a look, a very telling look. A look that suggested things might be a bit different come the second half.
One thing was as he made the change required, Son off for Dembele, with Alli moved forward. A better balance, but still no end product and the same failings.
Some were screaming for a penalty when Alli was taken down in the area, but Lamela hadn’t taken the corner, so with the ball not in play it can’t be a penalty.*
But with chances that came they weren’t dealt with clinically. More changes came, Janssen offered his usual bustling handful self but couldn’t quite link up. His introduction shunted Alli wide, when maybe that’s where Kane should have gone, keeping Dele at 10.
In the end Pochettino wasn’t happy. Didn’t offer up any excuses about Wembley but put the the blame directly on the players and lacking in effort, skill and passion.
Luckily, after Bayer Leverkusen took a two goal lead in the other game in the group they were pegged back to a draw with CSKA, so Spurs are only a point behind.
This result though felt like the Young Boys away game the last time, only time, they’ve been in the Champions League. That had a happy ending, though it was away and Pav got ’em back into what was a two legged tie.
CSKA away next, a must win game already…
* I don’t see why a team doesn’t do the old Man United corner routine of the first player there just knocking the ball out of the quadrant run off like you’re letting someone else take it and then when your player is fouled in the area the ball is live and it is a penalty. You’d have to inform the ref first because as seen with the the time United did it they are too stupid to realise what is going on.