When Jose Mourinho picked up his manager of the month award Spurs sat top of the table, three games and one point later they’re fifth and could drop even lower, after another lacklustre defeat.
Spurs dropping tiers like no city in Britain. From top before the game against Liverpool on Wednesday they finished the weekend in fifth and if the teams below them win their games in hand they could be as low as eighth, I mean that’s as close to ARSEnal as the top spot.
Spurs got away with it with the draw in that first game of the bad run, against Palace, the next two games have seen lacklustre performances that have just been a bad look for the manager, his tactics and his players.
Jose said he wasn’t bothered about stats – team stats, possession, or individual stats, passing – in saying a player who as 90% passing success but does nothing with the ball isn’t worth a player with 60% but goals and assists. He could have just paraphrased it with “Winks” everyone would know what he meant.
He might not care for passing stats but something approaching 50% from his players in the first half against Leicester would have been nice. The whole half, like the first against Liverpool seemed a slow exercise in hit and hope.
The desired pairing of Lo Celso and Ndombele was used and again it didn’t really work but nothing was working. It’s almost as if Jose really has gone to park the bus, yes Leicester are a team that work better playing the type of game Jose prefers, counter attacking, it’s how they won the title and their not much different now. So yes you want to use that against them but again, like the first half against Liverpool, there was nothing going forward.
The prime example is the fullbacks, there doesn’t seem to be the attacking play from Aurier and Reguilon, two excellent attacking fullbacks. They’re clamped to their defensive duties. It does look more parked bus than it should.
Saying that Leicester hardly tested Hugo, just one save before the break. Though Spurs did go in one down. Again we see that the opposition deserved to go in ahead, roles reversed and I’m sure they’d been talking about what a great job Leicester had done.
So that goal and the prophetic words of Jose when addressing Serge Aurier…
You are capable of doing a shit penalty with VAR… So I’m telling you I’m afraid of you…Jose Mourinho
Post match though Jose didn’t blame Aurier and he was right to an extent. It started before Aurier’s return to form. It started with a stupid tackle by Sissoko, carried on with an inept challenge by Sissoko, who ambled over and was more interested in playing the man than anything to do with the ball, before Aurier stupidly went through the back of the Leicester player on the edge of the box. Stonewaller, no argument.
Of course this played completely into Leicester’s hands being ahead it means that they can drop, wait for Spurs to attack and catch them on the counter. Which nearly happened seconds after the restart, when a lump over the top got Maddison between the centre-backs from where he finished perfectly past Hugo. Fortunately for Spurs VAR drew lines and found some way of making him offside.
Their second goal did come just on the hour and it had a similar ring to the opener. Self inflicted with Sissoko at the heart of things. This time a ball over to Vardy and Sissoko is ambling back not really paying attention, even though Vardy was in front of him at one point, when he decides to do something it’s exactly as before, to jump into the player, Vardy’s nod down then bounces off Toby for an own goal.
Things weren’t helped by Lo Celso going off injured, minutes into the second half, when Jose had replaced Ndombele at the break. That change saw Bale introduced for another nothing 45 minutes from the Welshman. Lo Celso was replaced by Moura so Spurs had all wide players and no central playmaker.Even with 9 subs available from the bench. Sissoko saw far too much of the ball, second most outfield touches and he was at his incompetent worst, 10 feet first touches and clueless panicking on the ball.
It was a strange bench with nothing available to replace a midfielder but wingers, with Bergwijn also being there and no Dele. Oh, yes there was Winks but he was only introduced when things became really desperate. Frankly the better option than Moura would have been to bring on Vinicius and drop Kane deeper. Kane acting as playmaker as it wasn’t working for him up front as yet again he missed a good chance with a header from a corner.
There was the usual blind panic last few minutes when they figured that they might actually have to start playing to get something but it never looked like happening, Son had a chance saved but that and Kane’s miss is your lot really.
As well as Jose’s comments in the Amazon doc being on point so is the title “All or Nothing” because the way Spurs are going it really is. If they’re on their game, start well and attack with pace then it’s boom but when they play like this it’s got bust written al over it from the off.