Well, I’m not going to even try and deny it, I won’t even be making excuses. The 2016-2017 UEFA Champions League campaign was an embarrassing and humiliating nightmare for Tottenham Hotspur.
What went wrong? No, it wasn’t that we played home games at Wembley or key injuries to Alderweireld and Kane; Why should we use that as an excuse when the club just played terribly in general?
The first game was a home tie against Monaco. Two goals from the French side were soon followed by a Toby Alderweireld header but they held on and Spurs began their European campaign with a difficult defeat to take. However, the one bright spark from the whole tournament had to be the away fixture against CSKA Moscow, who have somehow struggled even more so than Spurs. A goal from the then in-form Son Heung-Min secured a vital three points which was the only three points the club have been able to secure going into the last matchday.
In the next two match days, the club faced Bayer Leverkusen. Only two words can epitomise why Spurs were able to get a point from these two games; Hugo Lloris- An absolute wonder save from Javier Hernandez was the main highlight in the first match. The return game featured a horrendous performance from the whole team and in particular Moussa Sissoko and Kyle Walker who both proceeded to waste possession more regularly than anything else. Therefore, the club went into the fifth match day against leaders Monaco needing a win to practically keep the dream alive. The side just didn’t perform. An early penalty miss couldn’t even spark Spurs into life. Eventually, a short spell saw Monaco score two goals sandwiched between a Harry Kane penalty, gave Monaco the eventual win and secured the inevitable fate for Tottenham. Another sensational save from Hugo Lloris featured also.
It was completely shambolic. To see Leicester thriving in the competition makes it even harder to take from the perspective of a Spurs fan. To waste an incredible season with a third-placed finish and a deserved Champions League place is hard to take.
In my eyes, the club was physically and mentally inferior to the incredible 2010-2011 squad. The likes of Gareth Bale ripping shreds out of Maicon and the consistent Luka Modric and Rafael Van Der Vaart masterclasses under the steady eye of Harry Redknapp. This time around, Mauricio Pochettino dealt with the Champions League in a poor way. To rotate players is not what Redknapp did previously. Had Harry been in the same position six years ago he would have started the likes of Ledley King, Michael Dawson and Assou-Ekotto for the big European nights. However, the Argentinian has opted this season to bring in Trippier and Kevin Wimmer and use the Champions League as an opportunity to rotate his squad. Perhaps his inexperience in managing in this competition is apparent within his choices but this doesn’t mean that Spurs can’t do better under his guidance in the future as he will learn from his mistakes.
Look on the bright side, Spurs fans; At least we are back in the Europa League.
Feature Image credit: Forthevline