The 4-0 thumping of Cyrstal Palace at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a couple of weeks ago seemed to have bought some positivity back into the club but a draw against Olympiacos in the Champions League and a defeat away to Leicester City has led to some major questions being asked.
The embarrassing penalty shoot-out defeat to League Two Colchester United has certainly increased the spotlight on what is going on at the club.
Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has now suggested that perhaps the Spurs stars are getting too comfortable playing under Mauricio Pochettino and that a managerial change could do the club some good.
In his column for Sky Sports, Merson wrote: “I was talking to one of the other dads at my child’s school. He’s a Tottenham fan, and I asked him how long Pochettino’s been there now. He said five years. Five years? That’s a long time.
“Don’t get me wrong, he’s a brilliant manager. But it’s a long time – he’s doing the same thing every week, the same voice… are the players getting comfortable?
“I watched Spurs beat Crystal Palace the other week. They were like the Harlem Globetrotters. They made Palace look pathetic. They were the last team to win at Manchester United, Arsenal and Man City – they know how to win in big games.
“But then Spurs go to Leicester and get beat, having been to Olympiakos where they threw away two goals. I’m not saying get rid of the manager, but everything’s getting a bit monotonous now.”
Merson also pointed out the team’s poor form from the second half of last season and opined that a managerial change might be needed to get the players believing they can win trophies.
He wrote: “I’ve got to get this right – I don’t want to say get rid of Pochettino and everything’s right, but it’s just gone sour there. With everybody, the whole thing needs changing. They’re a good team, who are not going to win the league – once again.
“It just looks a bit like the players are thinking ‘we can’t win the league now’. The spark’s gone a bit. They’ve got a very good team together, but they lose too many matches.
“They’ve already lost two this season, and they should’ve got beat easily at Man City. Last season they lost, including in the Champions League, about 20 football matches.
“From then until now, it’s about one out of three. That’s not good for a top-four team. They should’ve beaten Arsenal – a good Tottenham team, full of confidence and hunger, would have picked Arsenal off and beaten them five. But it doesn’t look starving to me.
“I don’t know how to put my finger on it. The players have got to ask themselves serious questions at the end of this season. Do they want to stay at a club and fizzle out? And I’m not saying this because I used to play for Arsenal, but at the end of their careers, they’re never going to have to work again.
“Do they want to stay comfortable, finish top four every week and play week-in, week-out, or go somewhere and win something? They might not play every week, but they’ll win something.”
The 51-year-old also insisted that if the Argentine didn’t leave the club when he was on top, his credibility might take a permanent hit.
He added: “Do I think Pochettino will be there next season? No. The only thing with that is that he will start to lose his credibility if they don’t stay where they are.
“They’re the third-best team in the league, in my opinion, still. But even with managers, you’ve got to make hay when the sun shines. When Fergie was at United, how many times did we hear that Mark Hughes, Bryan Robson or Steve Bruce would be the next manager? They were all doing well at that time.”
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Given the frustration among the fan base at the moment, I suspect that a lot of Spurs fans will agree with many of the points Merson is making. Irrespective of whether Pochettino decides to leave at the end of this season, I believe Spurs will turn their form around soon and finish 3rd quite comfortably.
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