Unsettled players, transfer failure and Mauricio Pochettino’s future up in the air: No club needs a result like Spurs… but why has it all gone wrong for the Champions League finalists?
- Tottenham Hotspur have endured a miserable start to the season
- The North London side have only won one of their last six matches
- Mauricio Pochettino has an unsettled side and faces an uncertain future
Few clubs needed the international break more than Tottenham.
Few clubs now need a good result to spark a positive run of form when the Premier League action resumes this weekend more than Mauricio Pochettino’s side who host Watford on Saturday.
The two-week pause came at the perfect time for Spurs after a week to forget left them at a real low point.
Tottenham Hotspur suffered a record home loss in their 7-2 defeat by Bayern Munich
The record 7-2 home defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League was horrible.
For different reasons, the 3-0 loss at Brighton was just as bad.
They shipped four fewer goals against Brighton than they did when the German champions came to town but also offered much less in terms of threat and resistance, going down at the AMEX without even a whimper. A sickening elbow injury for Hugo Lloris just capped things off.
Spurs’s season to that point had been stop-start, wins against Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Southampton had all not been built on but at the time looked like being springboards.
The North London flops followed up with another shattering loss, going down 3-0 at Brighton
Spurs entered this season with high hopes of building on their first ever Champions League final and the feelgood factor of this being the first full campaign in their new home.
Those two emphatic, back-to-back defeats, though, brought all the issues that had been bubbling along in the background and hampered their progress sharply into focus.
The unsettled state of their squad, the club’s transfer business and failure to complete enough of their rebuild, poor individual form, weaknesses in key positions and their failure to hold onto leads.
Mauricio Pochettino has lost the ability to motivate his side this season
Pochettino has become distant in training and players fear he is looking for a way out
The biggest concern was arguably about Pochettino himself and his unhappiness.
The combination of events cast doubt over his future, increased by his players noticing how distant he has been this season.
Where once he was out from the start to the end of every session, Pochettino has tended to be out after training started and back inside before it finished.
That has fed fears among the squad he is looking for a way out.
But any potential parting of the ways were there to be one won’t be Spurs’s doing. They have no intention of sacking Pochettino, not least because that would come with a £32m pay off.
Opinion on his position at the club is divided among the fanbase but a majority believe he has earned the right to be given the opportunity to turn around their abysmal 2019 form
Spurs supporters have been left frustrated by a nearly a year of lacklustre and insipid displays
Chairman Daniel Levy has little intention of sacking Pochettino and will back his manager
SPURS LAST FIVE
Sep 21: Leicester (A) lost 1-2
Sep 24: Colchester (A) drew 0-0 (lost 3-4 on pens)
Sep 28: Southampton (H) won 2-1
Oct 1: Bayern Munich (H) lost 2-7
Oct 5: Brighton (A) lost 0-3
In fact they are pressing ahead with Pochettino’s plans to continue reviving his squad.
Chief scout Steve Hitchen has been back in Pochettino’s homeland running the rule over potential signings while work is also well underway on their list of European-based targets for January.
Spurs stance on Pochettino shifts the focus back to his players and the need for the Argentinian to find a way to inspire a winning response and return to form.
Chairman Daniel Levy laid bare the uncertainty in the Spurs squad right now at a recent Supporters Trust meeting.
He confirmed they had not sold all the players they hoped for and some they were keen to tie down on new contracts actually wanted to move on.
Spurs were dealt a severe blow at Brighton with Hugo Lloris picking up a long term injury
Dressing room unrest has also been rife this term, with Jan Vertonghen (left) and Christian Eriksen among the stars who have yet to commit their future to the club
Meanwhile Lloris’s long-term injury forced them to re-sign Michel Vorm, one of the players they were willing to let go when his contract expired at the end of last season.
Add in Pochettino’s ‘different agendas’ soundbite after the shock Colchester Carabao Cup defeat – hinting at the situations of the likes of Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen – and it is clear that circumstances have left him with a squad that is some way off how he likes it – all settled and pulling in the same direction.
Any personal concerns now have to be put to one side to get Spurs’s season back on track.
There are still seven months left of the season and plenty still to play for, starting against Watford this weekend.
Eriksen’s contract runs out at the end of the season and the Dane is keen to move on