Paul Merson takes aim at Jamie O’Hara after Tottenham comments

Date published: Saturday 27th November 2021 2:01 - Matthew Briggs

Former Arsenal player Paul Merson appearing on Sky Sports

Paul Merson has taken a thinly-veiled dig at fellow Sky Sports pundit Jamie O’Hara after the latter’s comments on Tottenham this week.

Tottenham slumped to “an embarrassing” away defeat to Slovenian outfit NS Mura in the Europa Conference League on Thursday. It was a shock result which prompted criticism from Harry Kane, while Antonio Conte admitted: “At this moment the level at Tottenham is not so high.”

However, the noise from outside the club was louder with former Spurs O’Hara described the outing as “a disgrace”.

O’Hara also called out four players and said: “They should be ashamed of their performance and should not wear a Spurs shirt again.

Merson though, also speaking on Sky, took a slightly different stance. The former Arsenal star did not defend the XI that lost in Slovenia, but he refused to vilify Tottenham’s players. He also hinted the comments from O’Hara were unhelpful.

Merson told Sky Sports Soccer Saturday: “Conte will only have players that buy in and not some of those from last week.

“I know some of the players will have gone there and gone, ‘I’m only playing in this game, if I play well I aren’t playing again’.

“I know fans will not want to hear that but it happens and ex-pros should know that. No ex-pro can tell me that there hasn’t been a time when they haven’t been in the team and they get a chance in the team…they know who is going to play and who isn’t.

“When we had reserve football. You would say ‘right I’m going to try hard’ and then you get to the first-team game and it’s different.


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Conte will have learnt a lot

“It was a bad result the other night. But I’m not picking out players and saying ‘he’s a disgrace and he should never play for the club again’.

“We’ve all had bad games and if anyone hasn’t had a bad game then come on here and have a word.”

 

New boss Conte said he did not speak to the players after the game.

“We will do it tomorrow. A bad loss, I am not satisfied with what happened,” said the Italian.

And Merson is convinced Conte will have leant plenty from the sorry loss.

“He will have learnt so much the other night. He will know (who he wants). We will have been on the plane home with his staff going ‘no, no, no’. And that will be it with them. He will suss this out. He is a top manager,” added Merson.

READ MORE: ‘Stale’ Tottenham star urged to make radical move and ‘start again’

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