So that’s it, goodbye Europe. There were extenuating circumstances I know but in my opinion this was one of the worst European campaigns in my Spurs watching experience. The game at Tynecastle apart we were unambitious and half-hearted, treating the competition with disdain and using it as half development centre, half convalescent home. Goal scoring has been our problem through most of the group matches so it’s mildly ironic that in this final game, we did actually at last find our touch in front of goal, it was still though too little, too late.
PAOK and Rubin Kazan ‘fought’ out the inevitable draw that eliminated us and officially put both clubs through to the next stage and good luck to them. It was though really our general attitude that was the cause of our downfall. Apart from allow us to put faces to the names of a few of the lesser known players and let some others to publicly display why they don’t feature often near the first team the one thing we can be grateful for from Thursday nights over the past few months is that no-one suffered a serious injury. Rant over.
As for the game, Townsend, Pienaar and Kranjcar were the inspiration behind the comprehensive win in the Tallaght Stadium. When allowed his head and played in his proper position Townsend does look a good player. He plays with confidence and skill and whilst he’s clearly no Gareth Bale his directness when in possession does remind one of the rampaging Welshman. Pienaar was everywhere, always apparently picking up second balls. He as usual looked neat and busy; there remains an impression though that the quality of his passing could do with raising a notch or two. There’s no doubting the quality inherent in Niko’s touch and distribution though.
Pienaar and Kane scored the first and fourth on the night, both goals being the first of the scorer’s Spurs career. Pienaar’s was a deflected low drive, the youngster’s a neat shot on the spin after he collected Townsend’s knockdown. Defoe scored the third from close range, again with the help of a touch off a defender but the goal of the night was Townsend’s right foot curler from the corner of the penalty area.
At 3-0 up at half time with PAOK leading and the Russians down to ten men there was a brief period when it looked like we might actually make it through to the next stage after all, Nelson Valdez’s fine left foot volley in Greece soon put an end to that though.
Harry now has the problem of how to keep his fringe players happy given the lack of cup competitions to throw them into. Having said that, most of them will get a run out against Cheltenham at the start of January and should we win that and get a friendly draw in round four then it may not become an issue for a couple of months. By then we should know the answer to two other questions that may have a big effect on the rest of our season, have we the funds and desire to boost the quality of our squad in the transfer window and perhaps more importantly, what will be the verdict of the judge at Southwark Crown Court in Harry’s long anticipated tax fraud trial?
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