Tottenham must hope homecoming will give them lift in top-four battle
PUBLISHED: 14:00 14 March 2019
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Spurs have to avoid a repeat of what happened under Harry Redknapp’s stewardship during the 2011/12 campaign
Tottenham Hotspur’s domestic season is close to unravelling if they don’t improve fast after Saturday’s loss at Southampton.
Spurs were cruising home thanks to Harry Kane’s 26th-minute shot, via a smart Dele Alli pass, but the Saints mounted an excellent comeback.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team switched off in the second period and efforts by Van Valery and James Ward-Prowse handed the Lilywhites a shock 2-1 defeat.
It could have a big consequence on the club’s season with third-placed Spurs just a point ahead of Arsenal and three better off than Manchester United in fifth.
A month ago Tottenham looked odds-on for a top-three finish in the Premier League and all of a sudden this looks unlikely.
The most pessimistic of fans will feel like history could be set to repeat itself with memories of the 2011/12 season coming back sharply into focus again.
Under Harry Redknapp, Spurs held a 10-point lead over Arsenal approaching the end of February before they collapsed horribly.
In the end, Tottenham managed to still come fourth, but it counted for very little due to Chelsea’s dramatic victory in the Champions League.
After looking set for a top-three finish, the Lilywhites had missed out and were not even going to be playing in Europe’s elite competition and they cannot do the same again this season.
Pochettino has to find a way to get his players firing again with a tough looking end to the campaign ahead, but may a return home help?
Last week the club confirmed their new 62,062-seater stadium will finally open in April.
It means Tottenham’s final five home games will be in N17 and it could give them the lift they need.
This season Pochettino’s team have lost to Liverpool, Manchester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Man United at ‘home’ and been held to a 1-1 draw by Arsenal too.
During their final campaign at White Hart Lane, they dropped only four points on home turf.
While their new home will not immediately become a fortress, it should make the games to come there slightly easier.
The fans and staff will not be going back to a half-full Wembley again, they will be back at a place where they feel they belong.
Everyone at the club has waited a long time to come home and this will hopefully pick up the players and supporters morale.
It was never going to be an easy season and suddenly things look slightly bleak, but a combination of Pochettino’s usual calmness and an overdue return home can bring a positive end.