Tottenham fell at the first hurdle in the Europa League as they suffered a shock aggregate defeat to Gent.
After such a poor Champions League campaign, the hope was that Spurs would at least put on a show in its sister competition.
Once again, though, Mauricio Pochettino’s men were undone by the same mistakes that had plagued them in the past. Even aside from Dele Alli’s idiotic sending off, there were problems that Spurs just don’t have in the Premier League.
5 – It isn’t technically too late to cancel their plans to play at Wembley next season, but there’s no time to find an alternative. It would also be admitting defeat. If they’re going to play 19 games there, though, Pochettino must have real concerns given their abysmal record.
4 – Eric Dier is suffering from being asked to play in too many different positions. The England international had his regular spot in midfield taken off him when Victor Wanyama signed, and since then, he’s sometimes been at centre-back, sometimes a holding midfielder, and other times on the right side of a back three.
3 – In the FA Cup this season, Dele Alli has often been called upon as one of Spurs’ senior players. Yet, the starlet has a long way to go to prove his maturity. It’s about finding the balance between his fiery passion and ill-discipline, but they don’t necessarily need to go hand-in-hand. Wayne Rooney was petulant as a young player, but he’s an example to Alli that he can iron it out of his game.
2 – It’s understandable that Pochettino has little to no faith in Vincent Janssen, who is yet to score in open play. However, bringing the Dutchman on in the dying minutes might see him go without a goal again, justifying his refusal to play him, but Spurs don’t have time for this kind of politics. If Janssen is ever going to boost his confidence, he needs at least 25 minutes at the end of games.
1 – Jan Vertonghen is like Lionel Messi without the goals when he gets forward. Unfortunately, his erratic shooting overshadowed some of the brilliant runs he made, and that was vital in Danny Rose’s absence. Spurs didn’t actually play that badly, and it was the first leg that cost them.
Rose deserves an honourable mention too. The left-back is literally bigger than the rest of the team right now, but he’s not even going to return to training for another three to four weeks, and that could have a massive impact on their season.