Only thing holding Tottenham back is themselves

Tottenham Hotspur have definitely got the talent in their squad to finish in the top four this season, but I’m just not sure they have the ruthlessness to see it through. They don’t seem to be able to grind out results when it really matters, and when they are not playing well.

Since their four-nil Cup thrashing of Peterborough in the opening week of the year they have played nine matches in all competitions and have recorded victories on just two occasions. Okay, the lilywhites have only lost twice since then as well but on four of those outings they have also failed to score. They need to find other ways to get the job done without their creator-in-chief Aaron Lennon. But are they capable of this on a regular basis and do they have the mental strength to win during these more trying times? I’m not so sure.

At the start of the season they were scoring goals for fun, but in such a long campaign the fluidity will naturally, at times, disappear and this is when courage and fortitude really needs to shine through. This just didn’t happen when they faced a hard-working, yet limited, Wolves side last week. And at times against Bolton Wanderers at the weekend they looked like they wanted to be anywhere but the Reebok stadium.

While upsets are all part of football, the North London outfit’s failure to score at home to Hull, Wolves and Stoke this season highlights a problem against the lesser sides in the league. And I would suggest that with a slightly tougher mental resolve Spurs would not experience such problems on a habitual basis.

Harry Redknapp warned his players before the game last week in the West Midlands about how their inability to hold onto leads and beat the teams at the bottom had cost them dearly this season.

“In all honesty we’ve thrown a lot of good leads away and we really should be above Arsenal now.

“It would be lovely to be a manager in the Champions League, just to get Tottenham there would be lovely. From where we were last season to a Champions League position would be great.  It would be a good achievement and we have a chance. At the start of the season we would have taken where we are now – still in the FA Cup and pushing for a Champions League place.

“We couldn’t have asked for more than that at the start of the year but we have thrown some points away. Everyone can do it but we really have. We did it against Stoke in the last minute, against Hull, Wolves at home. We were 2-0 up at Everton with 10 minutes to go, threw two points away at Birmingham with a minute to go, so we have lost points here and there.”

And Redknapp’s men now need to use their recent disappointments as a springboard for the remainder of the season. They have a great chance of reaching the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup and if they can dig deep and show some resilience then a Champions League place is not beyond them. But if they continue to show all the hardiness of a chocolate teapot against sides they should be turning over then I fear that Spurs’ season will descend into nothingness, like so many before at White Hart Lane.

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