In what was a hugely disappointing display by Tottenham on Wednesday night, Tottenham came crashing out of the Champions League as they eventually fell to a 1-0 aggregate defeat against AC Milan.
Suffering a 1-0 defeat when they made the trip out to the San Siro on February 14th for their first-leg showdown, Spurs still fancied the chance of extending on their European adventure in north London.
However, while Antonio Conte might have been back in Tottenham’s dugout, the Premier League outfit failed to find any kind of clinical edge and the ex-Inter Milan boss will know that he has a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders.
Drawing a blank in both of their two meetings against the Rossoneri over the past three weeks, Tottenham’s wait for a piece of silverware will be extended following their Champions League exit on Wednesday night.
With defensive star Cristian Romero not helping Spurs’ charge after being shown a pair of foolish bookings on either side of the half-time break, Conte’s downbeat squad will know that they missed out of a golden chance.
While AC Milan might have opened their knockout stage run last month tipped as a real underdog, the reigning Italian champions certainly laid down quite the marker in north London.
With all of the headlines set to be stolen by Tottenham’s toothless Champions League exit on home soil, what did we learn from Wednesday’s cagey affair?
The pressure on Conte reaches a new level
Although Conte might have made his second return to the Tottenham dugout in midweek after undergoing gallbladder surgery last month, the 53-year-old was certainly met by a frosty reception here.
While Spurs might find themselves still battling it out in the race to claim another top-four finish this season, Conte has come under a huge amount of scrutiny for his ultra-defensive approach.
With a chorus of boos echoing around north London at the final whistle and the Tottenham fanbase making their frustrations clear, many are desperate to see a managerial change sooner rather than later.
Putting in a pair of toothless Champions League performances over the past few weeks and really failing to take create any clear-cut chances on Wednesday night, the pressure on Conte’s shoulders has now reached a boiling point.
With the ex-Chelsea boss’s contract up at the end of the season, Spurs will also be more than aware that their wait to finally lift a piece of silverware will only go on.
There will be serious questions over Kane’s future
While Manchester City superstar Erling Haaland might have stolen most of the Premier League headlines this season, Harry Kane has enjoyed his own history-making flurry since returning from the World Cup’s winter break.
Although Spurs might now find themselves in the midst of a three-match losing run across all competitions, Kane has been Tottenham’s one shining light this season.
Becoming Tottenham’s all-time leading goalscorer on February 5th after bagging his 267th strike for the club, some around north London have accepted that their attacking icon will be on the move this summer.
Despite failing to force through a potentially record-breaking move to Manchester City last year, the England skipper has now entered the final 18 months of his current deal in the capital.
Crashing out of the FA Cup on March 1st after suffering an infamous 1-0 defeat at the hands of Championship outfit Sheffield United, Kane should be desperate to finally get a piece of silverware on his CV.
The Rossoneri are back to their rugged best
Although it might be Tottenham’s latest Champions League nightmare that will be the main talking point from Wednesday’s showdown in north London, AC Milan deserve a host of praise for yet another gritty display.
While Stefano Pioli’s men might have failed to pick up any real momentum last weekend as they suffered a 2-1 loss away at Fiorentina, the Rossoneri have proven that was nothing more than a minor blip.
Despite marking their return from the World Cup break in the midst of what had become a rather public struggle, the Italian icons appear to be getting back to their rugged best.
Although Pioli’s men might have accepted some time ago that they will not be able to defend their domestic crown in 2023, the one-time Bologna boss will take plenty of positives away from AC’s recent improvements.
Claiming that crucial 1-0 victory when they welcome Spurs to the San Siro on Valentine’s Day for their first-leg showdown, Wednesday’s guests have now recorded a clean sheet in five of their last six appearances across all competitions.
Tottenham: Forster, Romero, Lenglet, Davies, Emerson, Skipp, Hojberg, Perisic, Kulusevski, Son, Kane
Subs: Sanchez, Richarlison, Porro
AC Milan: Maignan, Kalulu, Thiaw, Tomori, Hernandez, Tonali, Krunic, Messias, Leao, Diaz, Giroud
Subs: Saelemaekers, Origi, Rebic, Bennacer Rebic
Yellow Cards: Tottenham: Romero, Lenglet, Skipp – AC Milan: Thiaw
Red Cards: Romero
Referee: Clement Turpin
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