In amongst Barcelona’s exquisite attacking football, in which Lionel Messi was the maestro as the Catalan giants dismantled Tottenham in the Champions League on Wednesday, there was some suspect defending from Spurs – and Tony Cascarino has blasted two defenders in particular who failed to tame Messi and co.

Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez were selected as the central defensive pairing with the unenviable task of holding the fort for Tottenham against a Barcelona frontline which always threatened to cause maximum damage to Mauricio Pochettino’s side at Wembley.

Some of the rear-guard action from the home side was particularly wayward, as the star-studded Barcelona attack breezed beyond Spurs’ back line at times, and speaking to Jim White on talkSPORT, via ​HITC, Cascarino blasted: “​Alderweireld is nowhere near the player he was 18 months ago.

“[Jan] Vertonghen has been injured. ​Sanchez; I saw a lot of him at Ajax. Now, he’s got a lot in his game but he’s got a terrible habit of relying on his pace because he’s quick. He gave away the ball for fun (on Wednesday).”

​Tottenham’s defensive efforts this season have looked a far cry from the organised solidarity which typified the earlier phases of Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side, as the north London side have conceded seven Premier League goals already this term.

That is four more goals shipped than both ​Manchester City and ​Liverpool this season and two more than ​Chelsea, suggesting that Pochettino’s side may still be some way off competing at the top of the table in the current campaign.

Tottenham were widely questioned for their decision not to sign a single player during the previous summer transfer window and with Toby Alderweireld’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, Jan Vertonghen’s injury struggles and the inconsistencies of Davinson Sanchez, it appears that defensive reinforcements were a necessary measure not taken.