Another season, another early exit from an European competition for Spurs. This time it was at the hands of mid-table Belgium side Gent. Spurs have lost in the quarter final or earlier in the last five years. Apart from Borussia Dortmund the other sides were all teams that Spurs should have competed with.
There have been a list of excuses why Spurs can’t compete for the Europa League. Playing on a Thursday night. The squad not strong enough to cope with the amount of games. Team selection and this season playing at Wembley. In the cold light of day and after the frustration and disappointment subside all those excuses seem rather baseless and illogical.
Professional footballers are athletes and playing three games in a week should be well within their capabilities. A 25 man squad should be adequate numbers to compete in more than just the league. Apart from Dortmund away most of the team selections have been on paper strong enough to compete in a two legged tie. Playing at Wembley can only be a mentality problem. It is a grass pitch, your home fans significantly out number the away fans and the England players have been there on a number of occasions.
The games in Europe follow a similar pattern sloppy, lack of urgency, out battled and frustrating. The last time Spurs showed up for a European game was in the 2010/11 Champions League campaign. Even this season returning to the Champions League wasn’t enough to kick start this squad into European glory.
This squad is young and inexperienced in European competitions. None of the players have tasted European success. Toby Alderweireld comes the closest with a runners up medal in the Champions League. Surely this should be a huge motivation for this group of players. To lead Spurs to European success their first since the 1980’s would cement them into history. Wining honors is what professional sport is about.
What the players manage to achieve in the future could determine if the squad is kept together. If they fail in their pursuit of silverware, they could fade into insignificance and it will simply be what could of been. Mauricio Pochettino has also yet to collect a trophy as a manager. It would inhance his reputation and cement the excellent job he has done at Spurs.
If Spurs were to secure European football next season they need to balance Cup football and League football better. Their attitude and wining mentality needs to improve. They need to show consistency and that they can fulfill their potential. It will be their 3rd season together and they need to show a maturity to handle the pressure of big games week in week out.
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