What’s Gone Wrong at Tottenham?


October has been a nightmare for Tottenham
Hotspur. They have conceded 10 goals in two games,turning a shaky start to the season
into a crisis Spurs look nothing like the team they were
and Mauricio Pochettino is under more pressure than he has been at any other point during
his time at the club. Is this the natural end of a cycle, or has
something gone badly wrong? For years Spurs were a side who gave everything
on the pitch, who would press hard and out-run opponents. But not this season. In August
and September, the story of the 2019-20 had been their surrendering of leads in the second
half: against Olympiakos, Arsenal and Leicester, before the shock league cup exit to Colchester. In October things got worse, as Spurs folded
in the second half against Bayern, eventually conceding seven times, before barely offering
any resistance against Brighton, who beat them 3-0 at a canter. Individual errors and bad performances can
always be used to explain events, but when almost every individual is underperforming
there must be a bigger explanation. And it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that there
has been a collective dip this season. This team was always sustained by the commitment
levels of the players. But when that commitment slackens, the whole structure falls apart.
Pochettino said recently that the main thing he wanted to fix in the team was that they
should “recover this aggressivity” without the ball, a tone which hasn’t been seen
in their pressing for many months. Spurs have not won an away league game since
January 20, the worst record in the division. Their performances since then, both home and
away, have largely lacked the intensity and slickness that were hallmarks as recently
as 18 months ago. They have picked up as many Premier League points in 2019 as West Ham
and Burnley, and fewer than Crystal Palace and Leicester. Their tally of 22 points from
20 Premier League matches since mid-February is borderline relegation form. Clearly some players do not want to be there
any more. Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Danny
Rose have all indicated their intention to leave and Jan Vertonghen is now in the final
year of his contract. But there is a broader issue: the pervasive
fatigue, mental and physical, within the squad after five draining years. Most of the current players have at Tottenham
since Pochettino’s first or second season. And there is a common feeling that they have
very little left to give. Part of this is physical, after years of hard-running
football and attritional training. One long-serving player has complained about the “same old
sessions and messages”. But it is also mental, after years of controlling management and
a relentless schedule, with players also complaining at how few days they are given off. “The place is a regime and they’re sick
of him,” one dressing room source told The Athletic. “It’s his way or nothing, there
is no balance. The players don’t get the impression they are trusted at all.” Pochettino has not lost the dressing room,
and the players know what a debt they owe to him. But they just cannot keep playing
like they used to. “The players are not revolting against him,”
continued the source, “but they have been driven so hard, they don’t know if they
have got anything left to give.” Can blame also be attributed to chairman Daniel
Levy? Levy’s responsibility is bigger than results
and form. His job is to safeguard the long-term stability of the club. His priority over the past decade has been
the club’s infrastructure and he has secured it for a lifetime. In 2012 Spurs opened their
new £50 million training ground, and six months ago, they opened their £1.2 billion
new stadium. Each of those is rated among the best in Europe. Last season, before the stadium opened, they
made a record profit of £113 million. Whatever happens next with Pochettino, the players,
even the ownership of the club, it will have a guaranteed level of stability. But has it come at the cost of the team? Levy has always run a tight ship in terms
of contracts and salaries, trying to regularly re-negotiate deals with incremental wage increases
to preserve his negotiating power. And for years it worked well. The problem came when the successes of the
team outstripped the money the players were offered. After a round of renegotiations in
2016, players were disappointed that finishing second in 2016-17 did not lead to another
big set of pay-rises. When the squad learnt last year of Levy’s
annual £6 million salary, it went down badly with players who have always felt underpaid. Since then Levy has started to push the boat
out on wages, with Kane, Alli and Lamela all signing big new long-term contracts last year,
beyond the old restrictions. Kane’s, for example, increased from about
£120,000 to a deal that starts at about £150,000 a week and could grow to £200,000. The flip
side is that Levy has secured Tottenham’s control over their futures. Spurs still spend only 38 per cent of their
turnover on wages but the club have said they expect that ratio to increase towards 50 per
cent. What Levy will not do is turn Tottenham s into Manchester United, throwing big long-term
contracts at senior players just to keep them at the club. Even on transfers the club has started to
spend again after failing to sign anyone through 2018-19, with a £120 million net spend this
summer that few would have expected, finally giving Pochettino new players to work with. The problem is that Spurs had needed a major
clear out of senior players, and a new generation of youngsters long before 2019. Mauricio Pochettino knew that these difficulties
were coming and expected his sixth season to be challenging. He knew how hard it would
be to keep motivating the same players he has had here for years and to keep getting
the same level of physical and mental application from them No one is more conscious of the threat of
staleness than Pochettino himself. He has been desperate to end this old cycle here
and start a new one. That is why he wanted to start moving on senior players years ago,
advocated a clear-out back in the summer of 2018. Rose, Alderweireld, Wanyama and Sissoko all
could have gone, just as Eriksen and Aurier could have gone this year. But only Kieran
Trippier and Fernando Llorente ended up leaving. Now Pochettino is left having to try to get
more out of largely the same set of players he has been working with for years, some of
whom he wanted sold, some of who are considering their next move. Pochettino also knows that during the course
of his Spurs tenure, Liverpool and Manchester City have almost built new teams from scratch.
And because they could never get rid of players, they struggled, at least until this summer,
to get players in. This means Pochettino is left with a squad
that lacks the youthful vigour it had three or four years ago, preventing them from playing
in the way it once did. The style has had to change in the past year,
becoming slightly deeper, slower and less about pressing. And that more adaptable approach
helped the team to get to the Champions League final, which was a triumph built from flexible
management. This season Spurs still have to be pragmatic.
That is why there is a focus on recovery between games, to keep the players functioning at
a high level for as long as possible. These are problems much larger than team selections
and individual mistakes and most of them are beyond Pochettino’s control. But if there are legitimate criticisms to
be aimed at him, then those concern the mood at Tottenham. He has always been an up and
down personality, but more so than ever in recent months. After losing the Champions
League final he was so upset that he went straight to his home in Barcelona, rather
than flying back to London with the squad, a decision which raised eyebrows behind the
scenes. His more recent comments about “different
agendas” in the squad did not go down well with the players either, nor did the speculation
in the past linking him with Manchester United or Real Madrid. Some players hoped that Pochettino’s
latest contract, in May 2018, would guarantee spending on transfers and on player contracts
which, to their dismay, hasn’t happened. Trying to change the atmosphere might be the
best thing Pochettino could do. This downturn is not personally his fault. It is what happens
when a group of players overachieve for so long until their motivation fades, with reinforcements
arriving much too late and in too few numbers.

100 thoughts on “What’s Gone Wrong at Tottenham?

  1. Everything's gone wrong… JK but last season was a fluke TBH! Especially penny pinching ain't gonna help you in the premier league even though you have good players they ain't gonna be motivated/incentivised to work harder. Everyone is now seeking greener pastures. Yes Levy is a "genius" but about time the board and owners spend smartly (transfers and wages). Kinda suck when you have great players but pay them relatively low. Eriksen is on 75K a week and you have guys like Rashford on 250K they definitely will be tempted to leave. Don't even get me started on the transfers…

  2. I really think people are overreacting about tottenham. They'll be fine come end of the year it's just the hot story right now

  3. Tottenham played the best and most attractive style of football for two seasons in 2015/16 and 2016/17. What happened to that?

  4. Pochettino should've moved to Madrid this year when he had the chance. It would've benefitted Spurs with a new management too.

  5. not winning anything for 5 years and wanting to leave isn't a sin. changing the manager could solve the problem though.

  6. Tottenham might as well reset.For the players that don't want to be there, sell them in the next two transfer windows. Tottenham should especially sell eriksen, in this january's tranfer window rather than let him walk for free next summer. As for the manager, Poch, has done a decent job, even though Tottenham went trophyless under him, but it's time for a new manager. Spurs should hit up mourinho, start utilizing some of their new acquisitions (Sessegnon and Lo Celso) and do all they can to hold onto Son and Kane

  7. More of a manager issue, spurs are having player issues. Played in CL final last time, everyone expected a raise in salary. But you know Levy ryt?. And that's why Poch is still getting support from Levy.

  8. Pochettino, for one, is one of the most overrated managers of this generation who's won a grand total of zero trophies.

  9. Wenger told us that players running down their contracts would become very normal, back then everyone laughed at him but now football teams are f'd because they chose to laugh at the professor with the media.

  10. What a great video. This has articulated my thoughts exactly.
    I’ve already written off this season. Give me mid table mediocrity for one season, clear the deadwood and get anew bunch to apply that aggressive pressing

    Or can the gaffer placate the players. Give them ownership of the problem. Can they play in a different way? Too many chiefs not enough Indians etc

  11. Spurs was last season CL finalist , how could this happen? it's like Pochettino wants to be sack , Spurs recent form is worse than United but media would only talk about United because United fan base is bigger than Spurs , so they can sell news 😅

  12. Pochettino is more responsible than I think you make out. He used to always be calm in press conferences and back up Levy's position but ever since Real Madrid and Man Utd tried to get him he has been very erratic and contradicts himself almost every interview. I can't imagine what it's like to play in that kind of environment. Also he won't give up on his diamond formation even though it hasn't worked in almost any game he has tried it and all the players say it's impossible to press that way. Look at Jermaine Jenas and Joe Cole's analysis of the Bayern game you will see what I mean.

  13. Pochettino knew this was going to happen. You can't blame him, he's the reason why they have such high expectations in the first place. If they didn't have to spend all of their money on that new stadium, they wouldn't be in this position. Simple as that

  14. Pochettino knew this was going to happen. You can't blame him, he's the reason why they have such high expectations in the first place. If they didn't have to spend all of their money on that new stadium, they wouldn't be in this position. Simple as that

  15. Listening to this just makes me think that Sir Alex Ferguson was truly amazing, or any manager that lasts 15+ years at a club

  16. I read he did lose the dressing room somewhat after deciding to play kane in the cf final, with kane not having played cause of injury.

  17. The quality is still great. But I am wondering if you're still your own organisation or a subsidiary of 'the athletic'?

  18. A bunch of players on their way out or who simply are not good enough don't like him and his methods? Oh well, they know where the door is.

  19. they have no more to give? Sounds like they wanne move to PSG for easy titles and money, instead of working hard to be the best like Real, Barca, Liverpool etc…

  20. In summary:
    He doesn't know how to rotate his squad. Look at liverpool. They run more and press more and they're players don't get gassed like spurs. Same for athletico

  21. Honestly I think they’ve just got stale, could do with 3 or 4 new players and freshen them up. They’re a good side still

  22. Usually I feel that this channel heavily features stats, almost too much. But this video was a perfect balance of reasoning and statistics, very enjoyable as an outside fan.

  23. We should praise poch!
    With this kind of team, he has always managed to be in 3rd or 4th place in PL and even reached ucl finals! Thats not an easy job for sure!

  24. Surprised I didn't see the eriksen vertongen issue.Also then how did managers like dyche do it? Hasnt spent 1% of pochettino but had been there for 7 years …

  25. There is something that stops tottenham from winning any trophy. They have 4-5 world class players but still they cant win

  26. The concerns raised by this source could apply to any top tier team, there is an expectation from players at that level, so would seem weird a player would complain especially given the large sums of money they make for kicking a ball around…

  27. its not only about the group of players are in the club for so long its about lack of motivation the players get.I mean that when a group of players perform well and lacks trophies for straight five years though they perform well this types of things happen. I am sad today since I am a tottenam fan and we can change things around.

  28. Hi Tifo, you should make a podcast about Juventus Turin and their recent re-branding to appeal to a more international audience. Loving the content

  29. robbed of 2 clear pens against newcastle. against arsenal robbed of a pen. robbed of a good goal and the lead against leicester. league cup defeat means little considering they altered the competition to go straight to pens. game was a draw. bayern we looked better than them and dominated first 30 mins. 7 goals means little. we can still easily finish 2nd and get out of the group. hardly affects our season, unlike the clear penalties we've been robbed of that would have put us near the top of the table. our season is fine. we've been genuinely robbed. for some reason people really love to hate tottenham and it happens with referees too. socrates pushed kane in the back. lascelles tripped kane with a rugby tackle. we're fine as a team still 3rd best team in the league

  30. Zionists owners won't pay the players who are solely responsible for the success but will keep earning and become billionaire. Pathetic.

  31. This feels an awful lot like the end of rafa benitez liverpool reign. Internal problems started leaking out. Fans loved him, but management were growing tired. The team played poor and he was sacked. However fans still love him. I feel like this is poch in a few years except rafa actually won stuff. Im concerned that poch is a spent force and instead of leaving 2 years ago he ll struggle at other top jobs.

    I really think in 10 years hes more likely to be at swansea than a barcelona

  32. Let's just say it: Poch is a bottler. And he ended up in the final by accident. He was forced to start Moura and Llorente in the second leg – he was going to start Kane and Son but was prevented from doing so. There was nothing preventing him starting those two in the final and we all got the final we expected, a snore-fest and an outcome that we could all predict. He has lost lots of "finals" and semi-finals with those two players, Kane and Son, who happen to be the best paid in Spurs (Kane 200k, Son 140k), but he doesn't learn … or doesn't want to change. He's a company man strictly and always has been. He'll start the two players who bring in the most money to the club, because the money they bring in pay his enormous wages. He signed a 45-million pound contract last season. He just pretends to be straining at the leash; the truth is he's quite content to have Levy put the collar around him. Levy has been quite good at supplying him with great players at very cheap price. Poch's end of the deal was to keep Spurs in the top 4. And he does that quite well. And so Levy is happy as he gets the money from Champions League football, the endorsements that Son gets and the money from Korean tourists who come to watch Son play …
    So it's quite predictable and expected that all of this would happen. His players are good enough to get the club into finals, but Poch will ensure every time that they are just short of the quality needed to win silverware by putting on the pitch Kane and Son. Kane used to be a good choice but he has declined severely in the last 2 years.
    When Son was made a forward and then stopped giving anyone assists and tried to be a ball-hogger and took all the chances himself, the service to Kane dropped.
    Kane decided then to re-make himself into a CAM/playmaker but it has not worked out at all. And now all he does is seek opportunities to dive and create "chances" that way. Many, if not most, of his goals are pens these days.
    He is no longer a top scorer or even top player.
    Son is overrated. For all his selfishness, he is just an average scorer and assister. He rarely scores more than 12 league goals a season and does not do more than 6 assists a season.
    Even Richarlison and Sigurdsson score more league goals than Son (13 each) but no one talks about them being "great" players, because they're NOT.
    And neither is Sonny boy. His averageness was highlighted in the game against Bayern where he played striker in that game. He did score once after scuffing many chances and then after that he gave away the ball easily, at least 3 times, and Bayern were able to score 7 in the same game. The contrast between Gnabry and Son could not be more stark. Gnabry played like a seasoned professional, shooting on target most times. He was able to tackle – he dispossessed Son once – and create chances.
    Compared to the cool and clinical Gnabry, Son looked like a wet fish. His awkwardness, including his terrible first touch, is amazing when you consider he's a professional footballer who has trained as one since he was a kid.
    And we will see the same thing next game, and the next game, but this season, Poch won't have the same chance to go to the final of the Champions League again. That was purely a fluke, as I have said.
    And the top level players who should have won silverware will be tired of playing for Poch, weary of being the backdrop just to make Son and Kane look good.
    So it's no wonder the players want to leave. Moura made a mistake signing a 5-year extension of his contract. He's a fool. He should have let his old contract run down and joined a new club ASAP as his star after the UCL is still high. Now he's just a bench player for Spurs and people will wonder what's wrong with him that he can't even make the first team.
    And besides you know automatically you won't win stuff at Spurs. Poch should stop kidding himself. And Spurs fans are absolutely deluded, much more than most.

  33. Quality content as always. I think fatigue is playing a major part in it.

    If you fancy helping out a uk based mountain bike channel just go watch one of my vids. Cheers you legends

  34. They overachieved for years and were fawned over by the nationalistic media because they had a couple of English players, just like they fawned over for finishing 4th under Harry Redknapp. They were a decent side but have won less trophies in the past decade than Carl Jenkinson and will ultimately be remembered in the same way as the good but not quite good enough teams that Leeds and Newcastle had in the late 90s

  35. The issue is, the players finally remembered that they play for Spurs.
    The daydream is over, Spurs will always be Spurs.

  36. I'm big spurs fan i was ready to slaughter this video but i can't well said and put together … would love to go more in depth about the problems between erikson and jan plus selling a right back and not replacing him manger not winning trophies and manger always buy new players and hardly every play new signings , the players that use to be 1 ste choice like dier wanyama alli not playing at all

  37. they were playing better last year when Kane was injured. may be if kane gets injured again, they'll play better?

  38. This upload is pretty much just an excuse for Tottenham's players having poor mentality. Liverpool have incrementally improved their squad like Tottenham and I would Tottenham have a squad just as good as Liverpool yet there's no sign of hangover or fatigue in the last two seasons. Levy's been great for the club tbh and yet he's a bit stingy but so was Wenger and they didn't go into relegation form lol.

  39. This makes me sad even as an Arsenal fan. Poch and Tottenham have done everything they possible could have done in his tenure, it's time to hit the reset button.

  40. Our ucl run covered up the disaster we were having in the league. For the past 20 PL games we've been in a mediocre midtable/relegation form.

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