Monday, January 21, 2019

Has Tottenham now hit a ceiling?

David Nugent in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 19 Sep 2018

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Tottenham suffered a 2-1 defeat against Internazionale at the San Siro on Tuesday night in the Champions League. The defeat means that highly-rated Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has lost three straight games for the first time at the north London club.

It seems the pressure may be getting to the Argentinian. The former Southampton boss produced a post-match rant to journalists after they asked questions about the omission of Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld from the squad to face Inter.

In fairness, I do believe that Pochettino’s decision to leave the pair out the squad was strange. As the said journalist’s questions proved, I am not the only one.

Should have strengthened in the summer

Pochettino has done a fantastic job turning Spurs from also-rans into a team that regularly finishes in the Premier League top four. However, there is only so far you can go with good coaching and man-management.

People may be bored of me banging on about this, but surely Tottenham should have strengthened in the summer. Spurs do have a pretty good squad of players, but new arrivals give everybody at the club a lift.

They often lead to better competition for places and players already at the club have to up their game. Unfortunately, this season, the Spurs players just do not seem to be at it and things seem slightly stale at the north London club.

Stuck in the middle

Tottenham are in an awkward position at the minute as a team. They are good enough to finish in the top four of the Premier League, but not good enough to make a major impact in the Champions League.

Last night’s game at the San Siro sums up how I see Spurs from the outside as a neutral in the Champions League. They looked set for victory with five minutes remaining. However, they somehow managed to concede two goals and lose the match.

Inter are a decent team, but they are not one of the competitions big boys. In quality terms, the Nerazzurri are arguably the Spurs of Serie A, although with less top-four finishes of late.

Matches like Tuesday’s are the sort of games that Spurs should be able to win. If I was a Tottenham fan, I would be bitterly disappointed that they did take three points in Milan.

However, they did not and it could affect their chances of making it out of their group. The team have not quite kicked on in recent years. If you are standing still, you are not moving forward and that is Tottenham.

Odds against Tottenham making the knockout stages

Group B of the Champions League was always going to difficult for Tottenham to negotiate, as they were drawn alongside the likes of Barcelona and of course Inter. Even the other team in the group PSV Eindhoven are no pushovers, despite a mauling at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night.

Last night’s defeat has seen Tottenham’s odds to qualify for the knockout stages drift to 10/11. The north London team are now behind Tuesday night’s opponents Inter in the betting to qualify.

Spurs have been enduring a difficult period of late. The north London club tends to have these sorts of runs of poor form before starting a good run of form. I have no doubts that Spurs will recover from their recent poor run of form, especially with favourable fixtures to come in the Premier League.

However, my fear for Spurs is that they have hit a ceiling that they will never breakthrough and their current situation could be the best they are ever going to achieve.

Have Tottenham hit a ceiling of achievement?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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