Saturday 20 January 2018 / 12:04 PM


Now THAT’S the way to respond to a disappointing Europa League exit.

Let’s not mince our words: Spurs let themselves down in their Europa League tie with Belgian club Gent.

Gent are eighth in the Belgian league – a vastly inferior division to the Premier League – and should have been no trouble for a side flying high in second.

But they were.

Having lost the first leg 1-0, Spurs had their work cut out in the return leg at Wembley, but having stormed into an early lead, it seemed like they were going through.

That was before Dele Alli intervened of course.

It would be highly generous to say that Alli’s tackle was clumsy; more accurate to say that it was violent, cynical and had absolutely no place on a football pitch.

From that point on, with Alli sent to the stands, Tottenham had their work cut out; but in truth, they should still have won.

They didn’t. A disappointing exit, with their full strength side out, against inferior opposition.

The question was: how would this affect them?

Well, this Sunday we found out, as Mauricio Pochettino’s wounded men annihilated Mark Hughes’ Stoke side.

The game was effectively over as a contest by half-time, as Spurs, led by on-fire striker Harry Kane, who scored four goals.

They were, it’s fair to say, scintillating.

I’ve seen Spurs play in this fashion a number of times over the last couple of years, and when they’re in this sort of form, they’re pretty much unplayable.

Stoke have been on the wrong end of this sort of performance a number of times in the last couple of years, but it’s not just Mark Hughes’ side who’ve struggled against the Tottenham machine in full flow.

West Brom, Chelsea, Man City, Watford, Southampton, Swansea City and Hull City have all been on the other end of comprehensive defeats, and what’s striking about that list of sides is that it almost doesn’t matter who Tottenham are playing – if they’re in the sort of form we know they’re capable of, they’re likely to win.

The Europa League exit was more than a shame, especially when it looked to be a decent year for them to go all the way, but at least they can now concentrate on the league, and on delivering these sorts of performances.

If they can do that, then Champions League football will be a walk in the park, and next season will be even more interesting.

[YouTube – Football HD]

Add Comment

About the author

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.

More premier-league News

Special Features