Tottenham played out a frustrating goalless draw with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League, but Peter Crouch has picked out the positives.
Antonio Conte’s side sit second in Group D, having picked up four points so far. Spurs had become unstuck in their previous Champions League game as they lost 2-0 at Sporting CP.
Following the disappointment of the north London derby, Conte would have been keen to return to winning ways in midweek. Despite his side having more of the ball with 57% possession, they couldn’t find a breakthrough. Spurs managed 11 shots throughout the game, but only two of those efforts were on target.
Crouch believes the performance was a step in the right direction though and some positives can be taken from the game.
The former Spurs forward told BT Sport: “They had much more control and much more possession.
“It was the final ball that was missing. If you hadn’t watched that game you would probably think they had just sat back, got a point away and there was no impetus.
“But they deserved better – a much-improved performance.”
Other pundits shared the same view
Crouch was not alone in his assessment of the Spurs’ performance in midweek.
Fellow pundits, Owen Hargreaves and Jermaine Jenas think Spurs are on the path to getting back on track.
Hargreaves explained: “It was a good game and a good response from them. They approached the game well and were positive but just the final ball was lacking.
“It was lacking against Arsenal and it was lacking again today. But they had moments today where they could have scored, but that’s a good side and a tough place to go – they won the Europa League for a reason.”
Frankfurt are currently sixth in the Bundesliga and have scored 16 goals in their opening eight matches.
The German side currently sit third in Group D and are only below Spurs on goal difference.
Jenas recognised the role Frankfurt played in nullifying Spurs. He added: “It was a very good performance and I think Frankfurt didn’t press as high so the players were under as much pressure as they were on Sunday, when Arsenal were on top of them.
“Frankfurt sat deep and that suited Tottenham in midfield. The jury is still out, I still think they need three in midfield, especially in the Premier League, but overall as a performance today I thought the front three worked their socks off, the midfield worked well – all the components worked well.
“The quality elements we expect from these top-level and some world-class players were a little bit short.
“It’s going to come, I was much more positive about the team after this result.”
Conte’s record in Europe
There’s no doubting that Conte is a truly world-class manager, but his record in Europe has often left a lot to be desired.
The furthest he has ever made it in the Champions League was to the quarter-finals with Juventus back in 2012/13.
The Italian manager has come up short in Europe on several occasions and he will be more than keen to dismiss this current record.
Spurs did incredibly well to snatch a Champions League spot last season, given how they had started the season and so they cannot afford to let this campaign go to waste.
They will get the chance to face Frankfurt once again next week as they visit the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The month of October will be big for Conte’s side and it will give us an indication of just how good they currently are.
Conte’s side currently sit third in the Premier League and are only four points off the top.
Despite their consistent start to the season, there is still the feeling that this side has an extra gear to click up into.
Harry Kane has been the main source of goals this season, but their other forwards have had a somewhat inconsistent start.
Son Heung-Min scored a fabulous hat-trick against Leicester City, but has otherwise struggled to find the back of the net.
The likes of Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison have had moments of quality, but haven’t quite delivered on a consistent basis.
If Conte is to break his European duck this year, he will need his entire squad playing at their best.