Tottenham Hotspur Going Home But Champions League Football Far From Guaranteed After Second-Half Capitulation
‘We’re going home’ sang the Tottenham Hotspur faithful at St Mary’s after dominating a first half where they could have been four up at the break. Mauricio Pochettino has said that taking Champions League football into the new stadium is the club’s priority. On today’s second-half showing, winning the Champions League might start to become the only way they can be assured of that status. With Spurs going home at long last, they look far from being assured of a top-four finish.
Second Half Capitulation Sours Tottenham Hotspur’s Going Home Party
The delays with the new Spurs’ stadium have understandably been frustrating for the manager, the players and the fans. Having to order tickets, pay for them and then be reimbursed to season tickets has been farcical. Many have stayed away from Wembley for certain matches, although Brent Council capping certain games has not helped either.
The news that test events can now be held and Tottenham can at last ‘go home’ had the fans buoyed in the away end. A great night in Germany in the Champions League in midweek also added to the fervour of the fans.
Tottenham, though, simply cannot play like they did in the second half today and expect to finish in the top four. Complacent, cocky and even lazy, a Tottenham side that could have been four up at the break just capitulated.
Saints March as Tottenham Falter
Harry Kane had given the lead to the away team after a lovely move. The returning Dele Alli was pulling the strings and Tottenham looked better for having him back in their ranks. Lucas Moura had been lively, drawing fouls but, at critical moments, his decision making was way off.
The Brazilian has potential but is likely to be a player who Spurs move on in the summer. He just has not added enough to the squad. At half-time, Southampton must have been delighted to be only one behind. They were even more delighted to find Spurs had already decided the game was won as the second half started, despite Kane wasting another chance. He had scored his 200th goal but was uncharacteristically wasteful in front of goal.
Ten Point Gap Disappearing
Tottenham were ten points clear in the top three just weeks ago. Should Manchester United win tomorrow, they will be level on points with the North London club. Although United have picked up under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, this is starting to look like a disastrous capitulation from Pochettino’s men. Liverpool and Manchester City both entertain Tottenham in the coming weeks and, on this second half showing, Spurs fans have every right to be fearful about those games. Lose them, and should other results not favour them, they could be down to fifth or even sixth. Even the word ‘Spursy’ wouldnt cover that scenario.
Spurs Going Home But Players Look Like Holidays Have Started Early
As good as Tottenham were against Dortmund, they were simply terrible in the second half against Southampton. Pochettino has talked about the mentality of the players needing to change and he is right. Winning the Champions League is still there for Tottenham, but they do not want to be relying on that to go into the new stadium with Champions League football. Even the most optimistic of Spurs fans cannot deny that missing out on the top four would be a disaster. A fabulous new stadium isn’t going to be full for Thursday night Europa League football.
Today, Pochettino was in the stands due to his two-match ban. However, that can not be used as any sort of excuse for losing this match. Southampton wanted to get further away from relegation and that seemed to matter more to them than finishing in the top four did to Tottenham.
Pochettino and his players need to take a long hard look in the mirror because a season that has promised so much could easily end with nothing. No top four would mean no Champions League football, and in turn, that would just hasten the departure of Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose and maybe more.
Now, more than ever, Tottenham must show that they do have the right mentality. In this match, the mentality was one that can only be described as… well, maybe there is no word to describe such an inept capitualtion.