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Tottenham Footballers Lacking Character, Leadership and Fight In Erratic Season

chelsea spurs1 Tottenham Footballers Lacking Character, Leadership and Fight In Erratic Season

Entering last Saturday’s London derby with Chelsea, Tottenham appeared to be well positioned to crack the top four party. The early season crisis of confidence and character under sacked manager Andre Vilas-Boas had been replaced by more free-flowing and assured performances under Tim Sherwood.

Tottenham’s record at Stamford Bridge since the inception of the Premier League is one of great shame around the club. Beating Chelsea, a local rival at their ground has long been a goal of those around the club. However in the first half Saturday, Sherwood’s setup that was based around pace and physical defending worked exceedingly well. Tottenham controlled possession and were able to break up play in Chelsea’s triangular midfield quite well. So strong was the play of Spurs that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho inserted Oscar at halftime for Frank Lampard to bring more dynamism and attacking impetus to the Blues midfield.

Unfortunately for Spurs fans, Tottenham gave up the opening goal of the match about ten minutes into the second half when Jan Vertonghen slipped under pressure from André Schürrle, allowing an easy goal for Samuel Eto’o.

Minutes later Younes Kaboul, making only his third start of the league campaign, was perhaps harshly judged to have fouled Eto’o in the area and was sent off. Eden Hazzard calmly dispatched the penalty and Chelsea were home free two goals to the good.

At this point what neutrals wanted to see was a good performance from Spurs, not the type of embarrassing capitulation we saw earlier in the season whenever adversity would strike. Instead the ten man Tottenham side showed a lack of character and guts in conceding two more times and losing 4-0, the side’s fourth loss this season by four or more goals.

For a side that is dripping with quality up and down the pitch as well as on the bench, the continued lack of fight in the Spurs side is alarming. Manager Tim Sherwood summed up his thoughts on this debacle with is post-match comments

“It hurts me and I won’t forget about this when we hit the motorway, but some might.

“There’s a lack of character, too many of them are too nice to each other and you need to show a bit more guts.”

Perhaps it was poor form of the manager to call out his players in such a way, but he is right. The lack of leadership on the Spurs side is apparent and when you lack veteran, vocal well-respected leaders like John Terry or Steven Gerrard, sometimes adversity is not easily overcome even with lots of quality in the side.

For Spurs who spent over a hundred million euros in the summer transfer window, another season outside the UEFA Champions League awaits. That is not what Daniel Levy had in mind when he assembled this expensive squad, but many of the players seem to be lacking the stomach for a fight.

For more Tottenham news, analysis and opinion, visit the Spurs team page.

This entry was posted in Leagues: EPL, Tottenham Hotspur. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

7 Responses to Tottenham Footballers Lacking Character, Leadership and Fight In Erratic Season

  1. christian says:

    Spurs were propped up by a spell of production from Adebayor which of course wasn’t going to last.

    The team that lost to a superior Chelsea on Saturday is who Spurs really are. A club who will finish in the 5-7 position but no real challenger to better clubs.

    Chelsea’s choke hold on the league this year was in clear view during this match.

  2. Phil Badger says:

    I really hate the prevailing wisdom that AVB’s Spurs were kept shackled while Sherwood has loosened the reigns and let them express themselves; it’s the exact same team, except Sherwood has had an in-form striker (and blame AVB for not playing Ade if you want).

    Spurs had the best away record in the league under AVB, they still have the best away record in the league. Spurs capitulated to the 4 teams above them under AVB (6-0 City, 0-5 Pool), they’ve done the same under TS (0-4 Chelsea, 1-5 City). They have an excellent W/L record against the rest of the league, and are a complete class below the top 4. That’s how they can still sit 5th with a 0 goal diff.

    Fact remains, Spurs didn’t go on a spending “spree” last summer, their net spend was negative. They got seven players who have never played in England before, with a management staff from the top down with an incoherent philosophy, changing managers and backstabbing all the time. There’s a reason Wenger has faced 11 different Spurs managers.

    Honestly, 5th place isn’t all that bad considering.

  3. Straight_Spurs says:

    The problems going on with this team is insane.

    You have players that look like they purely dont want to be there anymore. Vertonghen has been flopping or complaining all year and has been completely checked out since he injured his ankle so that he is healthy for the WC to hopefully up his transfer value.

    Then they have players that shouldnt play at all. I love Dawson but lets get serious he is to slow to play for spurs. He gets turned around by every player and leaves Lloris with no help. Plus his passing has been garbage. Aaron Lennon’s days as a spur is done for me. Still has the same issues as he did when he came from leeds in 2005. never looks up, cant complete a cross, lacks determination when we are behind. I have no clue why he was playing in central position when he cant even pass. Bentaleb is a great young talent but he shouldnt be playing against top sides. He just looked outclassed on Saturday. Walker in the midfield was the dumbest thing i have ever seen. Also we have no LB idk why they think Danny Rose is the answer. He isnt, he is a back up plus he is made of glass.

    This year has just been a disapointment and makes me wonder what Levy is going to do in the summer because we almost need a complete overhaul after screwing up all that Bale money. Makes you wonder if they just spent money on who AVB wanted where we would be. Remember he wanted to keep Bale, bring in Moutinho, Hulk, and Villa (all fees would be less then what we spent on 7 players that didnt even start saturday). I think that team could have done a lot of damage. If we kept Caulker and BAE the line-up would look very dangerous on paper.

    We need a LB, CB, LM, RM (depends on if Lamela is any good next year. But i dont think any money will be spent after what happened this year.

    I believe a lot of the blame should fall on Levy and Baldini, not just the players. Firing a manager then having no plan on having a replacement has screwed this whole season up and no TOP manager is going to want to come here and deal with a stingy, cheap, little p@#!k like Levy.

  4. Bucky says:

    Lloris
    Naughton
    Dawson
    Kaboul
    Vertonghen
    Sandro
    Bentaleb
    Walker
    Sigurdsson
    Lennon
    Adebayor

    Not one of the 7 players that cost 100m? That is a statement from the Manager. He is clearly sending a message to Levy.
    Sherwood is gone at the end of the season and he wants Baldini sacked with him.

    This is typical Spurs. 7 new players in the PL and you expect top 4? They have built a team that on paper was pretty good. But didnt have the balls to continue the plan they had. AVB is a good manager. Did he Alienate Ade? YES. because Ade is a selfish player who only can be arsed to play when he wants to. Levy will try and hire another manager but Spurs have missed their chance at top four for some time.

    United will invest some of Chevy’s billion to buy an entire new squad. LFC will challenge as long as they retain Suarez.

    I am so sad for Spurs. really. no really. no, really I am not.

  5. DET says:

    Wasn’t it less than a week ago this very same author gave us the laughable ‘Tottenham Primed to Challenge For a UEFA Champions League Spot’? Today however he finishes out his piece with ‘For Spurs who spent over a hundred million euros in the summer transfer window, another season outside the UEFA Champions League awaits’.

    -I think some should just report the facts (scores, match recaps, etc.) while other contributors supply us with opinion pieces or those that require critical thinking. The flip-flopping is getting embarrassing.

    • Pakapala says:

      @DET, exactly my thoughts when I started reading this article. I had to go look at the name under the previous article (posted on March 4!) to see if it was the same writer (Kartik).

      His exat words less than a week ago:
      “Tim Sherwood has restored CONFIDENCE and HARMONY at White Hart Lane. He has done it with honesty and old-fashioned English tactics. Spurs are showing the TEAM SPIRIT and FIGHT that often eluded the side under previous manager Andre Villas-Boas.” {emphasis added by me}

      Now after his man-crush Sherwood criticizes his players, all of a sudden Kartik takes to the web to write that “Tottenham side showed a lack of character and guts in conceding two more times”… “the continued LACK OF FIGHT in the Spurs side is alarming”… “many of the players seem to be LACKING THE STOMACH FOR A FIGHT”

      The worshiping of Tim Sherwood has got to stop. I understand many are desperate for a English manager successfully taking charge of a top EPL club but slow down a bit before making Sherwood into what he’s not.

  6. Martin J. says:

    Spurs were actually doing fine until the mistake that led to Chelsea’s first goal and then the unfortunate red card put the game beyond reach. There was no way Spurs were going to get anything out of the game with 10 men. The same thing happened to Spurs when they played Liverpool. Once they were reduced to 10 men there was no way back.

    This is going to be a very interesting summer for Spurs who need to decide on the manager and players, comings and goings. What Spurs need more than anything is some continuity.

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