Tottenham Hotspur have become a “shambles” defensively, with one culprit particularly to blame, according to a pundit who thinks Antonio Conte must realise he has to change their approach.
Spurs were involved in a dramatic Premier League match on Saturday, beating Leeds United 4-3. They had originally gone behind to a Crysencio Summerville opener, before Harry Kane equalised.
Leeds went in front again when Rodrigo Moreno scored before half time. There was another equaliser after the break, this time from Ben Davies.
Then, within the final 15 minutes, Rodrigo scored again to put Leeds ahead for a third time. Remarkably, though, Tottenham would turn the game on its head courtesy of a Rodrigo Bentancur brace.
It was yet another example of late drama from Tottenham, less than two weeks after their sensational stoppage-time winner against Marseille in the Champions League.
After that game, concerns were raised about why Spurs were allowing teams to take leads against them in the first place. Their performance against Leeds will only have emphasised those questions.
It was the first time they have conceded three goals in a game since February, so they were fortunate to be on the winning side.
Thankfully, their resilient qualities have been coming through. But there have been preventable issues that could have made life easier for them.
Spurs defence slaughtered and style must change, claims pundit
Indeed, after the game, former Tottenham player Jamie O’Hara voiced his concerns about the current state of their defence.
In doing so, he sent a stern warning to Antonio Conte about Davinson Sanchez, who came on in the 57th minute against Leeds and was therefore on the pitch for one of the goals they conceded.
Despite there being other players who have featured more, O’Hara has seen enough from Sanchez and does not want him to even be in contention.
O’Hara tweeted: “Big win in the end, but the defence need an absolute slaughtering. We are a shambles at the back.
“Sanchez should be nowhere near the team.
“We can’t keep playing so defensive. We are a very good team when we just go for it, surely the penny has dropped, play on the front foot.”
Tottenham might need to oversee a transition of their style if they are to becoming more attacking. That said, only Manchester City and Arsenal have scored more goals than them in the Premier League so far this season.
They have something to work with, but might need to become sharper at the other end to fulfil their potential as a team.
And Sanchez is not the only member of the squad who has come in for O’Hara’s criticism.
O’Hara added on talkSPORT: “It’s a painful watch Spurs right now. They really are. I don’t know we’ve dug that out.
“How we’ve dug out a win there, I’ll never know! Honestly, after 75 minutes I wanted to go home. They’ve sucked the life out of me!
“I wasn’t even celebrating the goals anymore, because I’m just so stressed out watching Spurs play, because every time we look like we’re going to win a game we go and concede.
“The only time I celebrate is when we score in the dying moments, because you know the game’s over! It’s ridiculous at the back, an absolute shambles!
“I was seething when we went 3-2 down. Seething. The only saving grace we’ve got at the minute is the fact we’ve got Bentancur, [Dejan] Kulusevski and Harry Kane. The rest of them are miles off it.
“Maybe [Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg deserves to warrant playing in this team, the rest of them are nowhere near good enough.
“Sanchez should never ever be coming on the football pitch for Tottenham again. He plays with cement on his feet, honestly, he’s shocking.
“Emerson Royal – how Djed Spence is not being given an opportunity I’ll never know! Hugo Lloris, I’m a big fan of Lloris and I back him, I’ve taken a lot of heat for him, but he’s got to be better, he’s got to get his angles right.
“I’m sick and tired of watching Spurs go 1-0 down, 2-1 down and we go in at half-time losing. It’s almost embarrassing.
“It’s like we come out and we’re lacklustre, sloppy, sluggish, not playing on the front football, sideways passes, kicking the ball out of play. It needs to be better.
“Antonio Conte’s got to have a word with these players. I don’t know what he’s saying to them before the game, but obviously his team talk ain’t good enough, they’re coming out and they go 1-0 down and only then do they take the shackles off and go after a team.
“In the second half and last 20 minutes, only then do you see the real Tottenham. We can’t carry on doing that! You play against a top-six side and we get beat!”