Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Tottenham star ‘a cause for concern’, as Paul Merson says ‘let’s be honest’ about Antonio Conte run

Son Heung-min, Richarlison, September 2022

Paul Merson has admitted that Tottenham forward Son Heung-min is becoming a “cause for concern” amid a reality check for Antonio Conte.

Spurs made a solid start to the campaign, going unbeaten in their first seven games. Four wins and two draws in the Premier League came before a 2-0 win over Marseille in the Champions League.

Performances were not entirely convincing in that run, but the fact Spurs ground out wins showed all the signs that Antonio Conte was at the helm.

What’s more, new signings Richarlison and Ivan Perisic, in particular, have made impressive starts.

However, Tottenham’s unbeaten run came to an end against Sporting on Tuesday. While the visitors had chances to win, Sporting dealt them a double late blow and secured a 2-0 win.

Conte admitted in the aftermath that he felt puzzled about how his side lost the game. A pundit then raised concerns over whether Richarlison was a good signing.

Writing in his latest column, former Premier League star Merson offered his fresh verdict on Tottenham.

“Tottenham are not playing well at the moment, let’s be honest,” the former Arsenal man said.

“The game against Sporting in the UEFA Champions League was a bad one for them, but in my opinion, it could help them in the long run.

“At the start of the Premier League season, I felt results were papering over their cracks, which obviously wouldn’t be the case anymore after what happened in Europe midweek.”

Merson backs Tottenham recovery amid Son concern

Merson added in his Sportskeeda column, though, that Spurs’ upcoming opponents Leicester are “all over the place” and the north London side should “bounce back” against the Foxes on Saturday.

Still, he raised further concerns for Tottenham star Son, who has yet to score this season.

The South Korean’s drought comes after he shared last season’s Premier League Golden Boot award with Mohamed Salah.

“Son Heung-min’s form has been a cause for concern, but I fancy him to return to his best,” Merson said.

“Cream always rises to the top, which is why I believe Antonio Conte needs to continue starting him every week.”

Spurs need to reset

It looks as if the upcoming international break will be good for Tottenham, whatever the result against Leicester.

They started the season well, but the Sporting defeat will have asked the players many questions about their progress.

Tottenham made several first-team signings in the summer and the upcoming break will offer a chance to properly reflect on how they are all gelling.

Conte will also no doubt reflect on in-game situations throughout the first eight matches of the season where Tottenham could have improved.

They can come back to the Premier League and Champions League reinvigorated and ready to go.

Indeed, in the Champions League, they are in a better position than London rivals Chelsea, at least. The Blues only have one point from two games as opposed to Tottenham’s three.

The Premier League and a top-four finish is of course Conte’s top Tottenham priority this season.

Coming back fully focused on where they can improve can help Spurs get back on track.