Tottenham Hotspur once again failed to impress away from home in Europe this evening as they were defeated 2-1 by Slovenian side, NS Mura.
The Lilywhites conceded early in the first half before seeing Ryan Sessegnon sent off for two foolish yellow cards. Even though Tottenham hauled themselves back into it with a delicate Harry Kane chip with 20 minutes to go, that would prove to not be enough.
With just seconds left on the clock and a 1-1 result strangely set to give Spurs a chance of finishing top of Group G in the final round of fixtures, Ben Davies slipped on the ball and Davinson Sanchez allowed his man to cut inside and finish.
The last kick of the game condemned Tottenham to a defeat they entirely deserved, while also meaning a second-place finish and the play-offs is the best Antonio Conte’s men can now achieve.
After the match, Conte was asked whether he had spoken to his players yet, to which he responded (Football London):
“Usually I prefer to not speak to them after the game, especially when the game is not good because you are too involved emotionally.
“After the game I think it is good to not speak to the players. We will do it tomorrow. A bad loss, I am not satisfied with what happened. This is the second time in a row we have finished the game with 10, against Vitesse it was the same. We risked not winning against Vitesse and today it happened again.
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“I think this team is very young but at the same time we have to work and improve because the details move the final result. I did not like what happened tonight, the performance. I must be honest and tell you that after three and a half weeks, I am starting to understand the situation. I can tell you that the situation is not simple.
“It is not simple because in this moment because for sure the level of Tottenham is not so high. There is an important gap to the top teams in England. Of this we must not be scared. I am here to work, here to improve the situation. I know we have to work hard but we have also to improve the quality of the situation, because if we want to be competitive.
“I know that in this moment we need to have patience, time and I am here because I know there are problems to solve. After three and a half weeks, I am happy to stay here but at the same time I must be honest and tell you we need to work a lot to improve the quality of the [current] squad. We are Tottenham and Tottenham in this moment, there is an important gap.
“But I repeat I am not scared. I want to work. I am ready to work. But we need time, especially for our fans because our fans want to see the team win. Me too. I want to be honest that we need to work a lot to improve the situation. We need time and patience. I don’t know what happens in the future but I am here because I am happy to stay here, to work for Tottenham.
We have a lot of desire to work, you can work work work work but you can push a car at maximum level and sometimes it is not enough to be competitive.”
Spurs Web Opinion:
I think even Conte is a little shocked at how big of a job he is faced with here at Tottenham, especially given the fact he could have been managing Man United had he waited a few weeks. Levy and co need to give this man whatever he needs to fix things.