Antonio Conte has been told he has a big job on his hands turning around Tottenham’s poor performances with Jermaine Jenas one of three pundits explaining why Tuesday’s 2-0 Champions League defeat at Sporting Lisbon was brought on themselves.
Spurs were pretty lacklustre from first whistle to last and failed to carve out too many chances of note in Lisbon. Richarlison was their most lively performer in the first half and thought he’d opened the scoring when rounding the keeper and slotting in. However, the Brazilian was correctly flagged offside.
The moment of the half, though, came from former Spurs youngster Marcus Edwards. His Lionel Messi-like run almost produced a goal of the season contender. And that run certainly left the pundits wowed.
As it was, Sporting grew into the game and had all the second half pressure. And with Spurs’ players fading, they finally made the breakthrough in added-on time when a flicked Paulinho header found the corner following a Pedro Goncalves corner.
And it became 2-0 two minutes later when a direct run from substitute Arthur saw him beat two players and fire past Hugo Lloris.
Assessing where it has gone wrong, Jenas told BT Sport that the Tottenham players got exactly what they deserved.
Jenas: “There’s been too many sloppy performances individually. In fairness to Hugo Lloris, he’s keeping them in the game. Those two late goals, I think Sporting thoroughly deserved them in the end. Spurs have got to take a good long look at themselves.”
Glenn Hoddle left mystified by Antonio Conte in Tottenham loss
Fellow pundit Peter Crouch agreed, adding: “I agree, they were simply too lax. Some of the touches from Harry Kane were not good. The ball was coming off him, he was guilty of giving it away. There were too many performances not of the level you expect in the Champions League. They got punished for it.”
A disappointed Glenn Hoddle offered his reflections on a poor evening for Spurs.
And he insists the finger of blame has to be pointed at Conte.
Hoddle said: “This was not a good performance. They did not create a real chance today. So there’s a lot of work still to be done at Tottenham.”
Assessing their tactical failure, he added: “I don’t understand why they did not just try and get behind the ball late on. They were still pressing, but they looked tired and looked so open.
“Conte, of all coaches, he should have changed it. We haven’t played well again, but in the end we could have said ‘we haven’t played well but we’ve got a point’… The side were stretched when they should have been in close contact with one another. They paid the price.”
Tottenham pay the price against Sporting Lisbon
Asked about the late goals and if Spurs were going to get away with it, Jenas added: “The thing is, you know it’s coming as a player. You’re hoping you get away with it because you know as a team, you have performed badly. There’s ways of managing the situation. They half-hearted the press the entire game and all of a sudden, they’ve been caught out.”
Jenas was also left frustrated by the Tottenham display and reckons it is ‘miles off’ what the Italian expects.
That's a wonderful run and finish from Arthur Gomes! 🟢⚪️
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 13, 2022
“It’s not what you expect from Antonio Conte. They’ve got to have a look at themselves. They’ve got the points on board in the Premier League, but their performances have been very much like that. Lethargic and generally looking very tired in games.
“I don’t know if it’s a training situation or players out of form. Either way, they have got to pick it up and pick it up quick. Because that was miles off what Antonio Conte and a lot of Spurs fans will expect.”