Jermaine Jenas has blasted Tottenham and Jose Mourinho for their recent performances and insisted that the team no longer has an identity.
Spurs enjoyed a bounce in form following the appointment of Jose Mourinho at the end of November but have recently struggled with form along with the opportunity to close the gap on fourth-place Chelsea on more than one occasion.
Jenas identified the stark contrast between Mourinho’s men and the Wolves players concerning their understanding of their roles within the side during the match in North London yesterday afternoon.
The 37-year-old claimed that the Spurs players are continuing to play in tactical systems in which they are unsure of their roles.
In his column for BBC Sport, the former Tottenham midfielder wrote: “Watching Wolves on Sunday, for the best part of 50 minutes they were in third gear. They looked a bit lethargic but they always have that ability to go ‘come on lads, wake up’ and they just snap into gear.
“Everybody is in the right positions and before you know it they are wide with the pace of Adama Traore or Matt Doherty and then they have the best striker in the league right now through the middle in Raul Jimenez.
“When you have a system like that in place and the players are used to playing it, you are stronger when the bad times come because you can be more resolute and more rigid.
“However, Tottenham are continuously playing in systems it looks like they don’t understand. There is no identity as to what they are as a football club right now or what they want to be.
“I cannot remember the last time Tottenham played well. They have been getting results but I cannot see a system being put in place. Are they a team that is going to go long? Are they a team that will pass between the lines? Are they a team that plays out from the back? Are they a team that bases their game on possession? Are they a team that bases their game on playing out wide? I just don’t know what they are.
“It is a big worry. Tottenham are the worst team of those chasing that top-four position – I don’t see how they make the Champions League at this rate.”
Jenas also implored the Spurs boss to play Tanguy Ndombele and felt the midfield looked extremely slow in the Frenchman’s absence.
The 37-year-old said: “I look at Tanguy Ndombele and I am thinking £60m, I watched him at Lyon – a top midfield player when he is at it. He does seem to be sulking all the time, why that is I don’t know. He doesn’t seem to be happy, but whose job is it to put that right? The manager’s. That is the point of managing – you have all these different personalities and you have to get the best out of each individual.
“Jose needs to find a way to get Ndombele on to the pitch because the team just looks slow. Harry Winks isn’t quick, Giovani lo Celso doesn’t seem that quick. I wouldn’t say Ben Davies is that quick, Dele Alli is not quick, Dier is slow. You go through that whole team and that dynamic element to a team, that athleticism you need in the Premier League, is not there.
“Go through most top midfields right now, whether it is Liverpool or Manchester City, they all have pace to burn in major areas. Spurs have Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn and I saw Kyle Walker show Bergwijn a clean pair of heels the other day. He is not that quick, he is a strong runner but he is not rapid. Ndombele would add that dynamism that you need in midfield.”
The former England midfielder also warned that the situation could end in tears for Spurs and Mourinho if Daniel Levy doesn’t back the Portuguese coach in the summer.
Jenas added: “I just hope that when Jose sat down with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy before Pochettino was sacked there was a conversation between them that went along the lines of ‘if I am going to be here, I want to be here for a long period of time to build something and I need your backing to get the players in that I need and get the players out that I want out’.
“For too long now, the lack of planning and their inactive nature in the market has cost Tottenham. This is a massive summer ahead for them. Massive. Hopefully, they are on the same wavelength in terms of what they need and what Jose wants.
“In my eyes, Jose is not a manager who challenges for the top four. You get him in to win a title or the league. The club have to look at themselves and ask what is the point of bringing Jose in if they are not going to give him the artillery he needs to go and get the job done.
“I would hope come the summer he is given everything that he needs. He obviously cannot go and buy everybody but the club needs to bend far more than it did for Pochettino – they should have given him what he deserved.
“If that conversation happened and Jose doesn’t get what he wants, I only see this ending in tears.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I think Jenas has pretty much hit the nail on the head with respect to the big problems at Spurs. However, Mourinho cannot be expected to have established an identity while delivering results at the same time, particularly given the injuries he’s had to contend with.
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