Tottenham’s defeat to Arsenal in Sunday’s north London derby has exacerbated their recent demise, forcing a fans’ group to seek talks with the club’s board over their strategy.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what has gone wrong at Spurs.
Where did it start to go wrong?
Under Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham were challenging for the Premier League and other honours, doing it against the backdrop of having to play at Wembley while their new £1billion home was built. They had one of the most exciting squads in the country and all they needed was a little bit of added quality in key positions. But instead of investing in the squad, Spurs – albeit with their new stadium costs spiralling – went through two transfer windows without making any signings. Their run to the 2019 Champions League final was in spite of some wretched Premier League form and Pochettino saw the writing on the wall, saying: “If you want to have a lovely house maybe you need better furniture.”
What is the sentiment towards the club?
Fan sentiment is at an all-time low, with a large percentage unhappy at how chairman Daniel Levy has run the club. Following his sacking of Pochettino in November 2019 after five years in charge, there have been a number of footballing and non-footballing decisions that have been hugely unpopular. They include the announcement that staff would be furloughed and forced to take wage cuts during the coronavirus pandemic, signing up to the European Super League and then charging more for tickets than any other Premier League club when fans were allowed back into stadiums at the end of last season. The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust – which on Tuesday announced it is seeking fresh talks with the board – called for Levy’s immediate resignation and there have been numerous protests at his running of the club.
What happened this summer?
After Jose Mourinho was sacked six days before the League Cup final in April, it took 72 days for Spurs to find his successor. Some of the names that they admired or actively tried to hire included Brendan Rodgers, Erik Ten Haag, Graham Potter, Hansi Flick, Pochettino, Antonio Conte, Paulo Fonseca and Gennaro Gattuso and some of the circumstances of the managerial search bordered on farce. Former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo eventually got the job having initially been ruled out as his style of football did not match Levy’s desire of attacking play. Nuno was in his position just a week before players started returning for pre-season and he did not get his full squad to work with until a few days before the Premier League season kicked off.
Is Nuno the right man for the job?
The problems of this season far outdate Nuno’s arrival and the Portuguese deserves some sympathy for the situation he inherited. Those issues that Pochettino forecast are still present and Nuno’s first major problem to deal with was Harry Kane’s desire to leave the club and his subsequent late return to training. But it perhaps says everything about the way the club is being run currently that Nuno had previously been vetoed for the position because of how Wolves played last season, with Levy previously stating he wants a manager to play “free-flowing, attacking and entertaining” football. Well Nuno clearly has not got the message as Spurs’ statistics make damning reading as they have had less shots than any other team and have had the least amount of chances from open play. As capable as Nuno is, he just does not seem the right fit for Spurs.
What has happened this season?
It looked like Nuno might be an inspired appointment as he led Spurs to their best ever Premier League start, winning their first three games 1-0. But since then things have unravelled as they lost 3-0 to Crystal Palace and Chelsea, while the first-half performance against Arsenal was an embarrassment. Nuno has admitted he got his tactics wrong in that game, which is a concern, but the display of key men also highlighted just how bad things have got. Kane is having an obvious hangover from his summer transfer saga, having failed to score in five league games and looked a shadow of the player that won the Golden Boot and Playmaker award last season.
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