Speaking to the Daily Mail, Tottenham Hotspur star Dejan Kulusevski has slammed his team for struggling to get going in the early stages of games after Spurs once again had to fight back from behind to gain points in the Boxing Day clash with Brentford.

With the domestic season resuming and Spurs playing their first competitive game since November 12, a little rustiness was always to be expected.

But, the level to which the North London side under-performed in the first 60 minutes against Brentford was indicative of a deeper problem at the club this season.

Dejan Kulusevski

(Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Brentford took the lead through a Vitaly Janelt tap-in after 15 minutes, meaning Spurs have now conceded first in their last nine competitive fixtures. Ivan Toney then doubled the Bees’ lead after 54 minutes.

Thankfully, Harry Kane headed home a little over ten minutes later, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg then converted a loose ball in the box to level the score and claim a point for the away side.

Why Spurs continually fail to compete in the first half of games is a source of mystery and much frustration for fans of the club, and is something Kulusevski is equally unhappy about.

He said: “We have to improve. It’s not okay to start games like this. If we want to be a big team, then we have to start playing from the first minute. It’s not enough with words.

“We have to do it on the pitch. If I knew how to change it, I would tell everybody but I don’t know. We have to figure it out as a team, everybody together.”

“The first game is always the difficult one after such a break,” Kulusevski continued. “The first half was very bad. We didn’t feel ready. We lost every second ball and didn’t do nothing with the ball so we’re very, very disappointed by the game. It’s not okay.”

On the nature of the comeback, he added: “As soon as you get the first goal, you feel like you’re going to win and we went very close. I thought we were going to win.

“I was just watching the clock all the time. I knew we had a lot of time to score but after two we did not. But the big problem is not the second half it’s the first half.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I cannot comprehend why this keeps happening. Surely Antonio Conte is making it very clear how unhappy he is with the nature of these performances at halftime, so why the players keep approaching games in the same way is just baffling.

If we can sort out this problem, we will be in a much stronger position, but I don’t know how it can be resolved. It must be a mentality issue, which is always difficult to fix, but something has to give sooner or later.

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