Saturday 19 August 2017 / 12:28 AM

SPURS MUST IMPROVE MENTAL STRENGTH

Tottenham have been fantastic this season, but in their last two games – the draw at Chelsea and the home loss to Southampton – they have shown themselves to be vulnerable in one of the most important aspects of the game.

The mind.

You see, Spurs’ football this year has been sublime.

Harry Kane holding the ball up, playing in his talented teammates as well as offering simply phenomenal finishing ability.

Christian Eriksen floating around the pitch, playing delightful little balls through to the forwards.

Dele Alli displaying his outrageous talent with assists and goals galore.

Eric Dier playing the ‘Makelele’ role, allowing Moussa Dembele the freedom to carry the ball forward.

Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen – together with Hugo Lloris – forming the most miserly defence in the league.

But when the going got tough…well, Spurs bottled it.

Now, to be fair to Mauricio Pochettino and his men, the title was always going to be a bit of a stretch when we came towards the business end of the season.

Leicester were just playing too well, and with all the neutrals wanting the Foxes to win, they had the support of the country too.

But whilst it was no shame for Tottenham to fall short of a Premier League title, it has to be said that they have allowed themselves to be rattled psychologically, and that’s a big deal – even when you’ve got a players as talented as the group Pochettino currently has at his disposal.

They should never have let a two-goal lead slip at Stamford Bridge.

They were the better side by far, and yet, with the prospect of pushing Leicester even closer a very real possibility, that’s exactly what they did.

Similarly, they collapsed on Sunday afternoon.

After taking the lead against Southampton, they allowed Saints back into the game before conceding a second-half winner, condemning them to a home loss and keeping the possibility for Arsenal to finish above them alive.

For Tottenham, nothing could be more mentally damaging than allowing the Gunners to pip them to the post. Spurs have been the better side, and the league table must reflect it.

But yet Spurs allowed doubt to enter their minds and make that a distinct possibility.

Sometimes we don’t give the psychological aspect of the game the due that it deserves. Because it’s huge.

Next season, Spurs must improve in this area.

Because for most of this season, they’ve played the best football in the league, and in reality, they’ve let themselves down because of a handful of ‘heads gone’ moments.

This time next year, we could be talking about Tottenham as champions, but only if they can sort their heads out. Let’s wait and see.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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