Such high hopes, such a let-down

Image: SpursWeb

We’ve had a bumpy ride this season, but when the Palace game came and went (with us winning 4-0) we thought we had turned the corner, we had such high expectations. We felt we were ready and able to dismantle Olympiakos. After all, they weren’t one of the great teams of Europe.

We showed spirit to go all the way to the final last season, yet we were far from our best as we made a shaky return to the competition in the port city of Piraeus. We were playing in front of a packed stadium (31,001).

Straight from kick-off, we struggled to break them down, but once through we were there, or at least I thought we were. Goals from Kane and Moura (4 minutes apart), we believed that that was it and we could go home. But Olympiakos had other ideas.

Having allowed a 2-0 lead to slip against Arsenal in the Premier League on 1 September – again, after conceding late at the end of the first half – this is the second time in three games we had been left to ponder on what might have been.

Kane won the penalty which led to him breaking the deadlock, he was clearly tripped by Tunisia defender Yassine Meriah. Then Moura produced an emphatic finish after Ben Davies marked his return by winning back possession and laying on the pass for the Brazil winger to score an outstanding goal. On a night of missed opportunities, Kane should have had a hat-trick. Yet, on two separate occasions, Dele Alli – making his first start of the season – and substitute Erik Lamela decided to go for glory instead of choosing the more comfortable option of squaring to Kane to score.

Having failed to win any of our first three group games last season, we know a point in Greece could yet prove critical. We have won just five of our 17 away games in all competitions this calendar year, including an FA Cup tie at then-League Two club Tranmere Rovers.

Since winning 2-1 at Fulham in the league on 20 January, we have managed just two victories on the road – both in Europe, against Borussia Dortmund and Ajax.

Their goals came from Castelo Podence (44′ minutes) and Valbuena (54’minutes pen). We had 56% of the possession but still walked away with only a point.

We can’t carry on being so inconsistent. Liverpool are flying ahead in the league, even though they lost to Napoli in the Champions League. Manchester City are stumbling, which should have kept us focused, but didn’t.

What’s next for us?

We are back in Premier League action at 12:30 BST on tomorrow when we are at Leicester City, while our next Champions League Group B game is at home to Bayern Munich on 1st October.

It was such a lovely day and atmosphere, and the players felt positive and upbeat. We flew out on the Monday feeling ready for anything. But bottled it after we got a two-goal lead. Pochettino now must shake them by the socks and make sure they are awake for the 90 minutes, not just a minute here and there.

Come on Spurs, we know you can do it.

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