Not Ready For Prime Time

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Image: SpursWeb

There will be plenty of games like this next season in Europe. (Or perhaps fewer than we think/hope, based on this performance) Talented sides with real pedigree in a raucous home atmosphere. Spurs were terribly outclassed—losing by three and it could easily have been five or six.

Poch obviously set the team up to fail with the more important prize still in mind. He couldn’t play Alli, left Dier and the two fullbacks home in London whose pace might have both hindered Dortmund’s attacks and provided some ability to counter, held back his two best attackers until the second half, along with the one player in Lamela who might actually have stood up to the incessant Dortmund thrusts. It wasn’t the wrong decision, but it was a revealing one. He probably hoped if not expected for a closer result and even an away goal.

It is the obvious exposure of multiple players that is the biggest takeaway—underscoring the need for Levy and Pochettino to recruit at least two more midfielders and/or strikers for next season’s European campaign. Tom Carroll and Ryan Mason are simple outclassed at this level—the middle of the field beckoned to the Germans all night long. Kieran Trippier lacks the pace to shut down the precise diagonal balls that time and again opened up Spurs to another ball into the box and chance to score. Son was simply a lost puppy for most of this game, muscled off and away from the ball repeatedly. And Nacer Chadli is simply not a talented enough footballer to compete against a team offering the likes of Reus and Aubameyang. And this was not Christian Eriksen’s type of game, when running backward was more vital than pushing forward, yet to be fair the Dane seemed curiously passive throughout most of the evening—the type of disappearing performance that we grew too accustomed to prior to this year.

We are not ready to compete at the highest level with this squad unless everyone is fit and rested. And how often, particularly by February or March when group stage has ended, can a side expect to be so blessed.

Beat Villa and Bournemouth and the Top Four placement will be virtually assured, the chance to best the Gunners advanced, and the hope of still surpassing the Foxes for all the honors still alive. Forget this one, but not its lesson. Spurs aren’t good enough to match their ambition—but it’s nice not to be fooled about that.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Can understand wanting to pin your hopes on top 4 / top finish , but what’s the point getting there if you decide to pull up short in Europe? Surely getting there isn’t just what Its all about is it?, you’ve got to try to compete to win,not decide to lessen your chances with a weakened team If that’s the case,why bother in the first place, or at least show your true intent by fielding a reserve team , better than making us look a total mess.

  2. In hindsight, not playing our best team against Palace was a mistake. We stood a better chance of winning the FA Cup. Poch probably looked at the recent injuries (Dembele, Alli, Rose), 1 point from the last 2 league games, a tough Dortmund over 2 legs, and even if we won that – we would still need to play 7 games against top opposition to win this – and decided it's too much. Why Bentaleb did not get a chance though, I am not sure. We played our "best team" against Arsenal – and we took 7 of them out of this game. This was 1/3 of the Spurs we know. There is no chance that Mason, Carroll and Onamah would be able to withstand Dortmund. This 11 would struggle to beat Villa. So here's hoping our first 11 (aka the team we played against Arsenal) stay fit, and can play the remaining 9 games. As we saw even against Arsenal, putting Mason made us a different team

  3. I understand what you are saying and many Spurs fans are happy to field a scond team and concede the competion. However you can argue that the same group more or less got us there so let them play and learn. I don't think Mason was as bad as you think but certainly Onomah actually never adds anything to the team. He doesn't come on and make any impact. I want him to …. I am rooting for him…. but nothing ! Same with Son recently. Trippier was mostly terrible but he had no help …. Davies didn't look good either….. Eriksen didn't have a run to pick out…..
    The real problem is we have Harry or absolutely nothing ! Levy and Poch this is your fault two windows to sort it out and nothing !!!!

  4. I understand what you are saying and many Spurs fans are happy to field a second team and concede the competition. However you can argue that the same group more or less got us there so let them play and learn. I don't think Mason was as bad as you think but certainly Onomah actually never adds anything to the team. He doesn't come on and make any impact. I want him to …. I am rooting for him…. but nothing ! Same with Son recently. Trippier was mostly terrible but he had no help …. Davies didn't look good either….. Eriksen didn't have a run to pick out…..

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