Poch said it was like a final

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Well he is eating those words, isn’t he? Now we can officially say goodbye to the title race and concentrate on Dortmund. They never looked like winning this game—not in the first 10 minutes, not in the last. I question the decision to start Kane—yes he scored, but he seemed out of synch most of the day and Son was nowhere near the force paired with him that he had been the previous three weeks. And maybe our luck caught up with us, since the performance vs Leicester was every bit this bad and perhaps worse.

But surely one has to wonder about this squad and its manager when he lays down the gauntlet of putting pressure on the two leaders in the title race, and the team responds with such a poor performance. Sure the corner that led to Wood’s goal was wrongly given, but the defending was poor. And truth be known Rose was allowed a throw-in from at least ten yards further down the field for Kane’s equaliser. On the winner first Aurier and then Vertonghen misplayed the situation, and that’s how you lose a game you shouldn’t have lost.

Poch’s anger at Mike Dean may have been misplaced but I worry it bespeaks a different type of frustration—that perhaps he knows this was his last best chance to win a title. That the offer from Madrid or Manchester will be too good to turn down. The truth is that he challenged his players in a rare manner—and they didn’t deliver. One can argue this particular set of players in this particular situation—with no signings and the stadium mess—have virtually no room for error. But it could have been Fulham or Leicester that administered this death blow—and the failures early in the season to get results at Wembley vs either City or Liverpool hung over our heads throughout.

We’re still not at the top level. We may, if we finish the deal in Dortmund, get a draw which allows further progress in the Champions League. The talent is such this season that any one of 8-10 teams could win with the right breaks and execution—Spurs may be near the bottom of that list but they still occupy a place on it. Now we find out about the true character of this team—two London rivals and Dortmund in the next 10 days and success will pretty much guarantee Top Four status and progress in Europe.  I hope this is enough for our manager to keep with the project.

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