in the Champions League.
So many times through the group stages and then knock out games, Spurs were out of the competition yet pulled themselves back in you’d think their name was on the trophy… but no.
Who didn’t see this coming, after a competition of great comebacks in great games the final was the dampest of damp squibs.
Three weeks of no competitive football and the heat of Madrid in June combined with two English teams didn’t make for a great game. A game in which Liverpool didn’t have to be even mediocre to win and that’s the infuriating thing for Spurs fans.
If you’re completely outplayed and lose, that’s one thing. If you control the game in which the opposition do very little and you lose then it’s all your fault and you should have done better. A lot better.
Much made of Pochettino going with Harry Kane ahead of semi-final hero, Moura. Was Kane fit after being out for a couple of months? Well, did it make any difference, non of the rest looked that fit, nobody was match fit. The thing is it’s Harry Kane. He’s your best scorer, also what type of impact sub would he be. You can bring Moura on and he should make an impact due to his pace against a tiring team. The fact he really didn’t was more about what was going on around him, rather than his ability.
Kane wasn’t fit they scream, look at how many touches he had. That was nothing to do with his fitness but like Moura of those around him. If no one gives Harry the ball, he isn’t gonna touch the ball. If no one gives Harry the ball he isn’t gonna have goal scoring chances. It must have felt like he was playing for England.
Yes Moura could have run about faster but would anyone have given him the ball? Would anyone have been up with him because nobody was moving that fast? But bring Harry on later, would he have been an impact sub? Doubtful.
The penalty. Sissoko doing his John Travolta disco stance. Well, when Spurs are involved in penalties the Telegraph dig up Keith Hackett. Every time it’s against Spurs he says it’s a penalty. Every time it’s for Spurs he says it was a dive. He said it was a penalty. Glenn Hoddle was outraged. Well, it was unintentional but… what was he doing? Why was he pointing? Who was he pointing at? If he’d kept pointing and kept his arm up there would have been no problem the ball wouldn’t have hit it but he chose to bring his arm down towards the ball, thus making it a penalty.
Hugo got close, could have saved it and that pretty much summed up the rest of the game.
Spurs performance was summed up by Jermaine Jenas lauding the fact that Harry Winks passed the ball 33 times in the first half. Don’t know how many passes he attempted in the twenty odd minutes he played in the second half, before being subbed for Moura, but I do know that it was a similar number of passes of any consequence… none. Winks passing the ball sideways there’s your Champions League final. Coward passing. Can see why Jenas loved it.
Most of the match involved Spurs being in the Liverpool half before passing the ball back to one of the centre-halves who passed it to the other, it might have gone back again but shortly it was at the feet of Lloris. Then Hugo to Toby, Toby to Jan, Jan to Toby, Toby to Hugo. Rinse and repeat.
All done at a saunter. Nothing was done at pace. Nothing done with one touch. Except for just after the break when some good play saw an actual first time cross that created a chance. Danny Rose, I keep hearing how he’s the heartbeat of the club, that it means so much for him. Well if that is the case you’d think he’d bother to put in a decent ball for once. Here how many times did he get the ball, look up and see just grass in front of him, maybe one defender, have acres to run into but pass the ball sideways instead.
He wasn’t the only one who bottled it. Eriksen did his usual big game disappearing act. Facing a Liverpool midfield that didn’t much turn up, the Dane wouldn’t exactly have to be at his best to have run the show.
Son and Dele were just on nobody else wavelength. It all showed that improvements are required, actual signings. Players that’ll either take over from those there or put pressure on the current squad so they can’t cruise through knowing there’s nothing to replace them.
Yes, we can all be happy clappy. Be joyous that Spurs got to the final of Champions League with a squad that also got a top four place when nobody thought we’d be doing the latter never mind the former, after not signing anyone for 18 months. But we can also be honest about a woeful performance, in an awful game, when it was there in their own hands to win the biggest thing in club football. Especially when some looked so disinterested.
Yes, the journey was something special but Spurs never really looked like getting into the game, even with the chances they had. Liverpool didn’t even have to be good to win and that’s what hurts so much…