Friday 20 October 2017 / 09:04 AM

SPURS’ SILVERWARE HOPES IN LIMBO AFTER DISMAL WEEK

If you missed it, Tottenham Hotspur crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday, losing 2-1 in Monaco and condemning them to – at best – Europa League football for the rest of the season.

In truth, it wasn’t too much of a surprise. Spurs have been poor in Europe this season, overawed by the Wembley occasions and unable to capitalise on what should have been a relatively straightforward group.

Going into the game, Mauricio Pochettino’s men didn’t have their destiny in their own hands – they were relying on other results, even if they had won.

But they didn’t. And there endeth a very short-lived return to the Champions League for Tottenham.

For Spurs fans, it goes without saying that this has been a massively disappointing campaign; and the way that the went out didn’t help – with Mauricio Pochettino resting a couple of key players before Tottenham’s Saturday evening kickoff with league leaders Chelsea.

Which also didn’t end well…

If you remember back to last season, Spurs were in the title race until a draw at Stamford Bridge removed any hope of topping the table. Chelsea players had publicly declared that they didn’t want Tottenham to win the league, and there was more than a little bad blood on the field.

This game was all about payback – and sadly for Spurs, it ultimately ended in failure.

Spurs fans will take a small crumb of comfort in the fact that it was one of their better performances of the season – in the first half at least – but the reality is that it was a damaging result, on that leaves them a full seven points off top spot and a long way from challenging for the Premier League crown this season.

What makes it all worse is that we’ve all seen this coming.

After a fantastic season last year, the expectations of this Tottenham side have changed. They are no longer content being ‘there or thereabouts’ and challenging for fourth.

They want to be dining at the top table and challenging for the title. Which – on the basis of recent results – won’t be happening this year.

For Pochettino, it’s time to figure out what’s gone wrong. Spurs started the season relatively well, but have struggled to create chances and score goals from open play – something that they did in abundance last year. The loss of Toby Alderweireld through injury has made them less robust defensively, something that should be solved upon the Belgian’s return, but the attacking problems are much harder to solve.

Vincent Janssen hasn’t hit the ground running, while Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen have been poor for weeks (Eriksen’s stunning opener on Saturday excepted).

Erik Lamela – a key part of the Tottenham pressing machine – has been laid low with injury, and the influence of Heung-Min Son appears to be waning.

Which leaves Harry Kane – the one player that Pochettino must feel he can rely on to do his job: score goals. But one player does not make a team, and the manager must be wondering how he can inspire a greater level of performance from his players before the gap between Spurs and the EPL’s front-runners increases any further.

If you missed it, Tottenham Hotspur crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday, losing 2-1 in Monaco and condemning them to – at best – Europa League football for the rest of the season.

In truth, it wasn’t too much of a surprise. Spurs have been poor in Europe this season, overawed by the Wembley occasions and unable to capitalise on what should have been a relatively straightforward group.

Going into the game, Mauricio Pochettino’s men didn’t have their destiny in their own hands – they were relying on other results, even if they had won.

But they didn’t. And there endeth a very short-lived return to the Champions League for Tottenham.

For Spurs fans, it goes without saying that this has been a massively disappointing campaign; and the way that the went out didn’t help – with Mauricio Pochettino resting a couple of key players before Tottenham’s Saturday evening kickoff with league leaders Chelsea.

Which also didn’t end well…

If you remember back to last season, Spurs were in the title race until a draw at Stamford Bridge removed any hope of topping the table. Chelsea players had publicly declared that they didn’t want Tottenham to win the league, and there was more than a little bad blood on the field.

This game was all about payback – and sadly for Spurs, it ultimately ended in failure.

Spurs fans will take a small crumb of comfort in the fact that it was one of their better performances of the season – in the first half at least – but the reality is that it was a damaging result, on that leaves them a full seven points off top spot and a long way from challenging for the Premier League crown this season.

What makes it all worse is that we’ve all seen this coming.

After a fantastic season last year, the expectations of this Tottenham side have changed. They are no longer content being ‘there or thereabouts’ and challenging for fourth.

They want to be dining at the top table and challenging for the title. Which – on the basis of recent results – won’t be happening this year.

For Pochettino, it’s time to figure out what’s gone wrong. Spurs started the season relatively well, but have struggled to create chances and score goals from open play – something that they did in abundance last year. The loss of Toby Alderweireld through injury has made them less robust defensively, something that should be solved upon the Belgian’s return, but the attacking problems are much harder to solve.

Vincent Janssen hasn’t hit the ground running, while Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen have been poor for weeks (Eriksen’s stunning opener on Saturday excepted).

Erik Lamela – a key part of the Tottenham pressing machine – has been laid low with injury, and the influence of Heung-Min Son appears to be waning.

Which leaves Harry Kane – the one player that Pochettino must feel he can rely on to do his job: score goals. But one player does not make a team, and the manager must be wondering how he can inspire a greater level of performance from his players before the gap between Spurs and the EPL’s front-runners increases any further.

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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.

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