LONDON, United Kingdom, Sep 19 – Tottenham’s bright start to the season is a distant memory after Mauricio Pochettino’s men slumped to their third consecutive defeat against Inter Milan in the Champions League.
Spurs conceded two late goals after dominating the second half at the San Siro to slip to lose 2-1 in the opening match of their European campaign.
It is the first time Spurs have lost three games in a row under the Argentine manager.
So what has gone wrong for the side who only last month beat Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford to make it three wins out of three in the Premier League?
Harry Kane is off-colour. After two goals in his first three games of the season, the England captain has gone five matches without finding the net for club and country and Tottenham have no obvious plan B when their talisman is not firing.
Before the match in Milan, Pochettino said his star man was a target after questions about the World Cup Golden Boot winner, dismissing talk that he was struggling for form.
“I’m not concerned,” he said. “The reason is not tired or not tired, can rest or not rest. It’s a collective problem, not only one player.
“We need to keep our feet on the grass.”
But Kane, 25, did not have a single shot in the match in Italy and the feeling is growing that he needs a rest to refresh his batteries.
World Cup hangover
Tottenham were proud to boast a whopping total of nine players in the World Cup semi-finals in Russia but they could be paying for it now.
Christian Eriksen, Davinson Sanchez and Son Heung-min left the tournament before the last four in Russia but players such as Kane, Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld stayed until the end of the gruelling event, interrupting Pochettino’s pre-season plans.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who won the World Cup with France, has since been fined and handed a 20-month driving ban for drink-driving — a further unwanted distraction.
No fresh blood
Tottenham were the only Premier League club not to sign any new players during the summer transfer window and look to be paying for that now.
The lack of fresh faces mean although Pochettino has a relatively settled first team, who can rival anybody on their day, he has fewer options from the bench and there is less competition for places than at other clubs.
Tottenham are still homeless. The club expected to be in their new stadium for their match against Liverpool last Saturday but testing threw up safety issues.
That forced the club to switch the Liverpool match and the home game against Cardiff on October 6 to their temporary home of Wembley.
“At the start of the project we asked for your support during what we knew would be a complex and challenging build and now we ask for your continued patience and forbearance,” said chairman Daniel Levy.
Uncertainty about when Spurs they can go back “home” is not helping.
There is still no firm date set and fans will not show endless patience if the team continue to stumble.