Opinion: Tottenham vs Everton – Defence better, passing miserable

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Harry Kane
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Eachh team could have won it. Hugo got there by an inch or two, and Gio missed the winner by a similar margin. Two desperate teams playing a fairly desperate game and the result was about as expected. I suspect the extra work which caused Conte to be late for the press conference on Friday was defensive—given the Vitesse game, how could it not be? And on the whole it produced pretty good results—while our wastefulness with the ball created plenty of opportunities to the Toffees, on the whole, except for the near-penalty they were left with blocked attempts, crosses headed away, and a failure to make the final pass. Demarai Gray had one good chance near the end but flicked it wide. 

As for the other side of things, where do I begin? Overall I thought it one of the worst displays of passing by any Spurs team I have ever seen. There were multiple offenders. Reguilon who had a nightmare of a game in general (his giveaway led to his early booking; his volley over the bar squandered the best chance we had all game, though it was hardly an easy chance) gave the ball away several times;

Romero was generally inaccurate in his attempts for long balls or diagonals; Davies had a number of moments and Doherty lost the ball a couple of times for good measure. But the more disturbing failures were up-front; Kane with a couple of poor passes, Son losing the ball several times, although he did create the break that ended in Reguilon’s missed chance, Lucas never sees a 1 v 4 he doesn’t like though his energy was typically high. Those three in particular simply have to do better. It may take a few weeks since only Lucas will be present at training the next ten days for them to grasp what the manager wants—but I thought the failures today were less structural and more simply incompetence. Gio looked much more lively from the minute he entered the game—I don’t think the problem with Kane is attitude as much as it is that, like De Bruyne at City, all the games over the past seven years for club and country have caused him to lose a step.

So the line-up was the same. I have no issues with either Skipp or Hojbjerg—they both played well today, without many mistakes and forcing turnovers and generally doing what Conte wants them to do. Reguilon was poor but until Gil and Sessegnon are fit, who is the alternative? Doherty who I thought might get some time in this set-up is on his wrong foot. The real question surrounds Lucas and whether either Gio or Tanguy are better alternatives. Given the fixture pileup after this break, we will get plenty of chances to see all three of them, and possibly Steven Bergwijn and Dele as well. Tanguy wasn’t particularly bright in his cameo, but there were multiple times before he came on when I could see how he could have broken down the Everton defence. (Kudos to Rafa, by the way. They knew how we were going to try to attack, and were very balanced in their way to defend it)  But he is a “hesitator”—and is that what Conte wants? Or is he prepared to sacrifice one of Skipp or Hojbjerg to allow it?

But give the man some time—we were poor defensively against Vitesse, and he appeared to have fixed that. The attack may take longer to sort out. We can be a bit patient in the knowledge that our manager won’t be.

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Paul is a respected U.S. political pollster (Democrat) based in Madison, Wisconsin and Los Angeles. His love for Spurs began when the Premier League games started appearing regularly in the U.S. and an American lover of football had to choose a side. Bale, Rushdie, Adele, Shakespeare, the Spurs faithful, The Lane, etc. were all irresistible attractions and have made Maslin a Spur for life.

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