Dejected Conte bemused by late Tottenham slip, as final third question prompts talk superstar could be axed
Antonio Conte cut a dejected figure after Tottenham’s late collapse against Sporting Lisbon, while a trio of pundits are ready to swing the axe on Son Heung-min.
Tottenham conceded two late goals to bring their Champions League campaign back down to earth in Portugal. Having beaten a stubborn Marseille 2-0 last week, hopes were high Spurs would sweep Sporting Lisbon aside to take command of Group D.
However, Tottenham struggled to get out of second gear, with Hugo Lloris the busier of the two goalkeepers for much of the evening.
Sporting failed to take their chances and with mere minutes remaining, the game appeared destined for a draw.
However, Portuguese striker Paulinho put the hosts ahead in the 90th minute when glancing a superb whipped corner beyond the stricken Lloris.
A stunned Tottenham had little time to react, and with the last kick of the game, substitute Arthur Gomes made it 2-0 after nutmegging both Emerson Royal and Lloris.
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Conte said: “A difficult result.
“For sure when you lose the game you’re not happy. I think the game was in the balance in the second half.
“I think we could [have] scored and we tried to win the game and then in the last 10 minutes we can do much better.
“They scored from a corner and we conceded the second goal after the 90 minutes. It’s a pity but difficult game for sure. We tried to get the win but in the end we lost the game.”
Son Heung-min drought continues
BT Sport pundits, Glenn Hoddle, Jermaine Jenas and Peter Crouch, took a dim view of virtually all aspects of Spurs’ display.
Among the subjects they broached was whether it’s time for Son Heung-min to be benched.
The usually dependable forward hasn’t scored in eight appearances this season and again looked off the pace in Lisbon.
The trio of pundits suggested Dejan Kulusevski has shown enough this season to warrant a start, perhaps in place of Son. The Swede started the match on the bench with Son, Harry Kane and Richarlison getting the nod.
When asked what Tottenham’s problem in the final third was, Conte added: “When you arrive you have to try and fill the box and to be accurate and to go stronger to attack the goal.
“I think we had two or three situations in which we can do much better.
“Now we’ll try to rest and think of the next game in the Premier League.”