Peter Crouch has questioned whether Tottenham have a strong enough squad to qualify for the Champions League following the club’s 3-2 defeat to Southampton
Tottenham’s defence has improved considerably since Antonio Conte arrived at the club at the start of November.
However, the shortcomings were seemingly exposed against the Saints on Wednesday as Spurs failed to deal with crosses into the box, with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men scoring two late goals as a result and walking away with all three points.
Crouch insisted that Wednesday’s performance showed the difficulty of the job that Conte has on his hands.
The former Tottenham striker told BT Sport 3 HD (9/2/22 at 22:20): “The squad has always been the issue. They still need to strengthen it. I think the manager over there would have liked to bring in more players. The new players haven’t performed yet.
“Other players they have aren’t performed either. And they haven’t been performing for a long time. Ndombele hasn’t clicked for whatever reason. It was time for Dele Alli to move on. What I like about Conte is that he’s moved them on to make room for new players.
“‘I think when he [Conte] took it on [the Tottenham job] it was a realisation that it was going to be a tough ask. He missed out on some big targets with Luis Diaz only being one of them. I think there is a rebuilding job to do here.”
Crouch identified central defence and the wide areas, in particular, as positions where Tottenham need to improve in order to re-establish themselves as a top-four team.
He added: “They’ve strengthened themselves in central midfield. I think they are still a top team in central midfield but I still think defensively they can do better. Even in the wide areas they can add strength in there.
“If they want to be a top-four side and compete with Chelsea, Liverpool and a city, there’s still a big rebuild job needed. If given time and money, he’s the man to do it.”
“Tottenham’s character has always been questioned. Do they have a soft underbelly? What Conte has brought to this side has seen it improve.
“I came down to a couple of games under Nuno and players weren’t even trying. They weren’t running. Tonight’s performance was a blip and hopefully, they can move on from it.”
Conte stated after the game that, despite the 3-2 loss, he was pleased with the commitment and effort that his players showed. The Italian stressed the need for the team to learn from the mistakes they made moving forward (Football.London).
However, Crouch claimed Conte might have had much sterner words to say to his players inside the changing room.
The pundit said: “I think there is a rebuilding job to do here. I think he came out and spoke very diplomatically there. I think he might have spoken slightly differently in the dressing room to what he told us today.
“That performance was disappointing. There were too many individual errors. The amount of chances Southampton had away from home in this stadium is not an Antonio Conte team.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It is easy to be quite knee-jerk and over the top in our reactions after a defeat like the one yesterday, which is what some Spurs fans on social media seem to be doing.
However, I am pleased to see that Conte was much more level headed in his assessment of the performance. Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes and put things right against Wolves on Sunday.
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