Tottenham are a very good football team under highly-rated boss Mauricio Pochettino. However, as Wednesday night’s 2-1 home defeat by Juventus in the Champions League last 16 proved, the north London club still lack European know how on the big stage.
Tottenham looked in control for much of the second leg tie at Wembley, but two goals in the space of three second-half minutes the tie got away from them. Juventus then showed their experience at the top level.
Naïve against Juventus
Whether it is Pochettino’s tactics or the player’s relative inexperience at the top level, the team were naïve in their display against Juventus. Tottenham’s first eleven are good enough to beat any team.
However, against the Italian giants, they seemed to have something missing and the team seemed slightly naïve. Spurs have played in this competition for the last few seasons, but they showed on Wednesday night that they are not on the elite level yet.
Juventus showed the north London side how it should be done by scoring with their first two shots on goal. Some would say they were fortunate, while others will claim they were highly clinical in front of goal.
Still learning in the Champions League
Tottenham produced some big displays in the Champions League this season, most notably at the Bernabeu when Pochettino’s side drew 1-1 with European champions Real Madrid. Spurs also beat the Spanish giants on home soil.
The team from north London also got the better of perennial Champions League participants Dortmund in the group stages of the competition.
Tottenham have a very good team, but their team is not top level, yet. It seems hard to identify how the starting eleven could be improved, as it would be harsh to drop any of the players currently starting games for Spurs.
However, to keep producing results like the ones against Real Madrid, Tottenham have to find a way to keep improving. No doubt the younger players will learn from games like Wednesday’s for future encounters.
The team will develop under Pochettino and is growing, as the Argentinian stated after the game. Sometimes you learn more from defeats than victories and that is what the north London.
As a coach, the Argentinian boss is also likely to learn a lot from these types of encounters. In terms of experience, he is still very much a Champions League rookie. Just like his players, he is not yet ready to compete at the top level of European football just yet.
Tottenham will be back next season
Tottenham Champions League adventure may be over for this season, but I would certainly back them at 1/6 to be playing in Europe’s elite competition once again next season.
The side from north London are currently fourth-place in the Premier League table, five points clear of fifth-place Chelsea. Pochettino’s side face a trip to Bournemouth this weekend, a game they will be confident of winning.
For me, Tottenham have so much potential as a team. A number of their players are still relatively young in the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli. They can achieve far more in the coming years, it was just unfortunate they were drawn against such a savvy team in Juventus in the last 16.
As long as they can keep the likes of Pochettino and Kane at their club they can develop. If they can and build around them, then one day Spurs may well be considered an elite team in Europe’s biggest competition.
Were Tottenham naïve against Juventus at Wembley?
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