Another Thursday night European descent into tedium with Spurs, didn’t exactly get them back on track after the weekend Premier League loss.
So far Spurs in Europe this season, starting with the Champions League now into the Europa League, has veered between just mind numbingly dull and mind numbingly dull with a loss.
Actually it’s pretty much stuck to the latter. This first game in the Europa certainly was. Dear god, that was beyond awful. The Spurs players said they wanted to make up for the awful display against Liverpool, so Pochettino picked a fairly strongish side to play the mid-table Belgians in Gent and boy didn’t that work a treat.
I have heard that insomniac patients can get Spurs European games on the NHS now…
It’s a good job all those tickets for the return leg at Wembley have already been sold and they weren’t put out on the back of this game. They’d be lucky to sell out a Mini to watch this rubbish. Eighty thousand might sit through it next Thursday.
It just looks like a team in decline. It’s not like they’ve played brilliantly all season but recently there’s just no life in ’em at all – saying that there wasn’t much life in the CL campaign.
But with these two defeats, what with both the opposition – Liverpool hadn’t won all year and Gent not exactly high flyers – and just the general lifelessness about the performance, where do they go?
Well into the Cup and what does Pochettino do? Pick the same bunch that have under-performed twice now and hope they come to life against Fulham. Something that hasn’t really happened previously, as Spurs morph into the level of the team they’re playing. Or pick the real understudies and hope that they don’t show exactly why they don’t start.
One thing he could do is head back to the back three. It was working, yes I know Vertonghen and Rose is a big miss but reverting back to the four hasn’t exactly worked a treat.
It looked like going to the three worked for Spurs when Pochettino made the switch after the break, following the insipid first half. All of a sudden they were in the game and more in Gent’s faces, actually creating chances, of course not scoring them because they’ve lost the knack of doing that and then Gent scored… oh, how very Spursy.
Defensive omnishambles, through Dier’s legs, Walker mincing about not really bothering tracking the number 77, Milicevic, his cross is put away while Toby and Davies miss lunging for the ball, while Sissoko is standing there doing nowt and Wanyama ambles into the box.
Would it lift ’em, or would they just mince about slowly boring us all to death… it could only be the latter.
Pochettino looked at his bench, saw slim pickings but picked them all the same and left yous scratching your head when he did. Yes I get bringing Son on but why for Dembele when Sissoko had been useless? The Frenchman finally went for Nkoudou, I’m surprised he found the bench, it really was the second touch is a tackle performance from the thirty million pound man.
Then to bring on Eriksen, Pochettino brought off one of the few players that was bothering, Winks. He wasn’t particularly great, certainly not as good as many were trying to make out, but at least he puts some effort in. And yet Wanyama stayed on, mincing about, getting in the road, hardly making a tackle.
And you know things are heading downhill when Toby is making mistakes. He picked up a yellow against Liverpool, only his fourth at the club and a mistake here led to the ball hitting the post after Hugo’s excellent save, he obviously hadn’t got the memo that the club don’t want anymore Thursday night games.
Pochettino sounded upbeat, taking of Wembley being made to feel like home for the next leg, while Gent talked about the joy of going there and well, it’s certainly lifted the other visitors this season.