Inside Lane: The truth is Spurs aren’t ready for the Champions League
Tottenham blogger David Lee says Mauricio Pochettino has plenty of work to do before Spurs are prepared for a return to Europe’s top table.
The race for Champions League qualification has become an all-too familiar story for us Tottenham fans in recent years.
Season after season we find ourselves checking the results of our rivals, desperately hoping they will slip up and hand us a route back to Europe’s top table.
After Sunday’s humbling defeat at Old Trafford, it sadly seems this season will be no different. And, although the desire for a return to the Champions League burns as strongly within me as any other fan, the reality is Mauricio Pochettino’s side is simply not ready.
At our best, we have witnessed a side that can terrorise the league’s best. With Harry Kane firing, Christian Eriksen probing and the axis of Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb dominating, we truly can beat anyone in the Premier League. But there still seems to be an underlying weakness in this squad which has left me pondering whether Champions League qualification is what our squad really needs.
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As the season reaches its climax, both Liverpool and Arsenal have found another gear. Brendan Rodgers’ men are grinding out results but, while our rivals’ key players are hitting form, our go-to men seem to be on the wane. We have played 48 games and we still don’t know who our best attacking players are.Sunday’s dismal showing at Old Trafford was a throwback to the tepid and blunt displays in our early-season defeats to the likes of Stoke and Newcastle.
The stage was set for Nacer Chadli, Andros Townsend and Eriksen to expose a fragile Manchester United side and propel us into the hot-seat for Champions League qualification. But instead the players wilted and settled for a patient yet pointless approach which yielded only one shot on target.
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Our game management also needs to be better. We find ourselves out of the Europa League after losing to a Fiorentina side that I firmly believe we should have beaten over two legs, and six points behind a United team who have been less than convincing.
Recent performances in crunch games have demonstrated a lack of experience and nous which needs to be addressed before we can consider Champions League football as a realistic prospect.
The squad has delivered some moments of true delirium, and our wealth of young talent has made it exciting to be a Spurs fan again – but with youth comes inexperience and Pochettino has plenty of work to do before we are ready to return to the European nights we all dream of.
Follow me on Twitter @David_Lee91