Glenn Hoddle believes that Tottenham Hotspur missed Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg’s leadership when they were put under pressure by Dinamo Zagreb last night.
Dinamo pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season when they overcame a 2-0 deficit against Spurs courtesy of a brilliant hat-trick from Mislav Orsic.
Hojbjerg was suspended for yesterday’s clash on the back of the yellow card he received in the first leg, with Mourinho opting to start with Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko in the middle of the park.
The away side never got going at the Maksimir Stadium as the hosts kept growing in confidence and got the three goals they needed to progress to the final eight after extra time.
Speaking after the game, Hoddle told BT Sport 1 HD (18/3 at 8:46pm): “You need leadership. Hojbjerg not playing tonight shows you what they do need. He’s had a great season. Suspended. Massive miss.
“I think the key goal he’d have been in there in a defensive position. He’s the one who actually leads them. He’s always talking to players and demanding. They missed him big time today.”
Jose Mourinho admitted after the game that Dinamo left everything on the pitch while his side did not approach the game with the right attitude.
Hoddle agreed with the Spurs boss’ assessment and admitted that he expected a response from the North Londoners after the home side had got a goal back.
The legendary Tottenham midfielder added: “To be fair to Zagreb, they showed more heart and determination. In the end, with Orsic’s hat-trick, they showed better skills, technique and ability.
“They deserved the win. But Spurs were diabolical tonight, they really were. ‘I think mentally they’ve got it wrong right through the game.
“I said at half-time if Zagreb score then I’m expecting a reaction from Tottenham, the game would open up and they’d have a nibble.
“I didn’t expect Zagreb to actually take control of the game. That was Spurs’s opportunity to respond, to make that response as a team, individually.
“They went backwards, went downhill instead of fighting. They were just playing at the pace they wanted to play.
“They should have upped the gears, there was not enough ability in the team or anyone on the night to say I’m going to take responsibility and change this game for us.
“Everyone was looking at each other. That can happen and when it happens, it’s a disaster for a team.”
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I can certainly understand where Hoddle is coming from as Hojbjerg would have likely demanded an effort from the players on the pitch. However, going into the match with a two-goal lead, we had more than enough quality in the side to see out the tie.
It appeared as if the players just turned up expecting to breeze through the game. It was only in the second half of extra time that they showed a desire to make things happen. The lack of desire and commitment that we showed was unacceptable.
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