Jermaine Jenas has accused the Tottenham players of not taking responsibility and hiding from the ball during their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on Thursday.
Just as the same as the two previous defeats at the hands of Liverpool and Brighton, Tottenham did not show any attacking intent until they went a goal down against Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Even when the home side committed bodies in attack in the second half, they seemed incapable of breaking the Chelsea defence down and failed to create many goal scoring opportunities.
Jenas claimed that the Spurs players looked fearful of making mistakes against the Blues and worried that it will be difficult for Jose Mourinho to get them back playing expansive football.
The former Tottenham midfielder said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think there’s a few things. I would take it personally as a midfielder if someone could show me clips of me hiding from the ball or not wanting the ball, that’s pretty much one of the biggest insults you can give to a footballer.
“My issue with what I was seeing is they had no way of playing, no pattern of press. Usually, at this level you will have a few plans, and some of the natural stuff with your two centre-halves splitting the box and your two full-backs going forward and perhaps your two central midfielders dropping in.
“What usually happens is your opposition will adapt to that and say, ‘hang on a minute, I’m not letting him go in between the two centre halves and get the ball, I will go in and press him and the wingers go and press the two full-backs, and we will pin them in’.
“So then you have a plan b, but I am watching a team of players pointing all over the place and pointing to each other at times, ‘pass it to him’. But I am thinking, ‘what are you doing?’ You are all internationals. Who on that football pitch at any time is going ‘this is ridiculous, I will get on the ball, I will make us play’.
“To be fair to [Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg, I saw him trying to get on the ball and try to make things happen, but I didn’t see many players interested or with an idea of where they needed to be.
“I’ve been in teams like that when you are a bit lost and it is on the manager, there’s no doubt about that, whatever fear has struck into these players, it is there for everyone to see, it is as plain as day.
“Whatever has been done over the last two or three months, the fruits of that are on the pitch and there are players who just don’t have a way of playing, and it is a long way back from that.
“If you’ve lost that, it is a long way back to get them playing expansive, enjoyable football, and they look like an unresponsive group of players and that’s quite scary.”
However, the midfielder did suggest that the performance could be the kick up the backside that the Spurs players needed to start performing again.
He added: “But they can get it back.
“It felt like that game where you go to the dressing room afterwards and you go ‘what kind of performance was that?'”
Spurs Web Opinion
While one would hope that Jenas is right and that the performance against Chelsea can inspire the Tottenham players to get back to that, I fear that is wishful thinking. Based on what Mourinho said post-match, it seemed as if he did not have too many issues with the way his side approached the game as his game plan was to sit back and absorb pressure.
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