I hate to be cynical, Spurs fans, but Tottenham’s performance against Newcastle highlighted precisely why there’s not a lot of money being placed on Mauricio Pochettino’s side to finish in the top four this season.
On the face of it, this is Spurs’ best opportunity to finish in the Champions League spots for a number of years. Chelsea are performing abominably, United look pretty dodgy and Liverpool started terribly.
But are they going to finish in the top four?
You see, when the top teams get the bit between their teeth, they deliver. Think about United in their pomp, or Chelsea in 2005 and ’06. They simply didn’t lose games in the manner that Tottenham lost that game on Sunday.
I’ve written before about Spurs’ tendency to bottle it when they’re presented with big opportunities, and Sunday’s game was just another case in point.
Had Pochettino’s team won, they would have headed into the top four for the first time in a couple of years, and it just seemed like the prospect was too much for them.
Whilst they had the best of the chances in the first half, they froze in the second, and committed the cardinal sin of letting their confidence lapse in injury time.
What was sad is that it was so woefully predictable.
Pochettino is building a good, strong team at White Hart Lane, but just because the Argentine has managed to trim the squad whilst adding some great young players should not paper over the fact that Tottenham have a mentality issue.
There is a tendency to cry ‘work in progress’ when criticism is levelled at Spurs, but that does a disservice to the talent at the North London club.
They lose games they shouldn’t lose. They should never have lost the Newcastle game. Spurs are a vastly better team than Newcastle, they were at home and they were in better form, buoyed by a fantastic win on Thursday. Losing – especially in the way they did – was, quite frankly, unforgiveable.
Tottenham might be a work in progress, but that doesn’t mitigate this loss. This loss is indicative of a fundamental problem; and whether that’s in mindset or preparation, Pochettino must get to the bottom of it and eradicate it. Until he does, his side’s never going to be dining at the top table.