It was supposed to be a dream night for Tottenham fans everywhere. I have woken up this morning and wished it was just a dream, that it is Tuesday morning, and we are playing Madrid tonight. But that is not the case. The nightmare could hardly have been worse for Spurs last night.
Still, I cannot help but make some allowances for the Tottenham team, who worked so hard for the entire game. What is most heart-breaking is that the first two goals came from basic errors at set pieces. The third was a moment of individual brilliance and the fourth could have been saved. (Regardless of how one-sided a game, a fan can always find excuses). Here are FIVE things we learned about Tottenham last night.
Crouch let the occasion get to him
Crouchy, oh Crouchy. Tottenham’s lack of Champiosn League experience showed. Yes we were not in the game. Yes we were dominated both in attempts on goal and possession. Yes, we were already one-nil down after 5 minutes. But the sending off made a huge difference. A side cannot just defend, defend, defend. Even though we did so like Trojans, we still needed to keep the ball at some stage. With only Van der Vaart / Defoe up top, this was virtually impossible. Crouch deserved to go, he made two reckless challenges. Marcelo, who celebrated when Crouch fouled him, made a fool of himself. But there is no doubt that the occasion got to Crouch, I would have expected better composure from an International, and intelligent man. But pressure does funny things to people.
Lennon is hugely influential
Lennon’s injury, minutes before kick-off was a real blow. It was ominously reminiscent of the food poisoning incident before the West Ham game in 2006. I think Modric is vital in the centre of Tottenham’s midfield but Lennon’s injury saw the Croatian play on the left. So not only, did we miss our best midfielder but also a brilliant winger. Madrid pushed up and pressed very hard last night. They also doubled up on Bale. If Lennon had been fit, Tottenham would not have been so one dimensional and would have been more threatening. Secondly, I’d like to think that Lennon would not have been marking Adebayor at a corner, so why was Jenas? Lennon’s injury threw a massive spanner in the works.
Sandro is a very, very good player
Lennon’s replacement, Jermaine Jenas, again looked lost at this level, he was anonymous for almost the whole evening, other than when he let Adebayor rise to head in Madrid’s first goal. However, on a positive side of things, Sandro was immense. He did his best to complete the job of two men, (himself and Jenas) and although we did not dominate play, he tackled, intercepted and hassled all evening. We have a real gem of a player there.
Tottenham need a striker like Adebayor
Adebayor has now scored 10 goals in 12 games against Tottenham. Last night he played really well. He is a genuine threat in the air and has skill, pace and power to go with it. He is much more than a target man. Regardless of City’s 5-0 win at the weekend, they are not a good enough side to cast the Togolese striker off. He could still offer them so much. While both Van der Vaart and Defoe looked outnumbered and dwarfed, Adebayor has the pace and power to play in a direct fashion, by running at defenders, or hold up the ball. Either style of play would have suited Tottenham last night.
Tottenham were just not good enough
Amongst all the excuses, this one seems the most likely. After last night’s performance I would not be surprised to see Madrid win the Champions League. With La Liga, now looking like Barcelona’s to lose, Jose Mourinho is likely to turn his attentions to The Champions League. It is a competition he has done brilliantly in previously. Real Madrid are a fantastic side. They have one of, if not the best manager in Europe and a team of world class players; additionally they have the depth to bring on Kaka and Higuain as subs. For a team like Spurs to beat a team like Madrid, they needed luck. Other than Dawson’s handball incident, we did not have any.
Let Joe know what you learned about Tottenham directly on twitter @joeasutin8
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