Opinion: Five things we learned from Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat to NS Mura

Antonio Conte
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur were defeated by two goals to one by NS Mura this evening in what has to go down as just the latest in a string of embarrassing European results in recent years.

Let’s take a look at the five things we learned:

Top of the group – Spurs cannot finish top of Group G anymore. In fact, with seconds left on the clock, it looked as though Vitesse Arnhem’s 3-3 comeback had given Spurs a lifeline to potentially finish top even with a draw against Mura. They would then need a win over Rennes at home in the final fixture. Then Tottenham decided to do what Tottenham do best, conceding a last-minute goal to end that hope.

Ryan Sessegnon… – This fixture was billed as the return of Sessegnon. Back from injury. Came on against Leeds. Conte announced he would start. He gave the press conference. Then he let himself down with two foolish challenges. First impressions count and that was as bad as it gets. Plus, he essentially cost Tottenham a chance at finishing top of Group G.

Audition for Romero’s replacement – The back three this evening should have been competing for Romero’s vacant position in Conte’s strongest XI. Instead, we saw Sanchez get chopped for two goals, Rodon taken off early and Tanganga moved out to right-back. No one really covered themselves in glory out there, making Conte’s job even harder.

The creators – Tottenham have struggled to create goals this season. One would not have expected that to be the case this evening against a team like NS Mura, especially with Dele Alli, Tanguy Ndombele, and Bryan Gil in the side. Yet all three flattered to deceive, gave the ball away, and were taken off before the end of the match. Too much overplaying and overcomplicating things, as well as a distinct lack of quality and desire on the night.

What next? – Spurs will likely need a win against Rennes in the final fixture to book a place in the play-offs. Essentially, they have to match whatever Vitesse Arnhem do against Mura, keeping them behind in the table. Unfortunately, even if they do this, Tottenham will then have to play two extra European fixtures, potentially against a decent Europa League side.

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