Opinion

Tottenham are failing on every level because the club doesn't know what it wants

Sean Walsh
Nuno Espirito Santo is under pressure now
Nuno Espirito Santo is under pressure now / Clive Rose/Getty Images
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"The Spurs players look like they don't believe in a plan," Sky Sports commentator Gary Neville said as Tottenham trailed north London rivals Arsenal 2-0 on Sunday, shortly before conceding a third.

Until that point, Nuno Espirito Santo's men were relying heavily on a long-ball strategy, completely bypassing a midfield which may as well have not been there - Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele and Dele Alli looked like they were running in quicksand for Arsenal's first-half strikes too. The Gunners ran out deserved 3-1 winners at the Emirates Stadium.

"I decided bad," Nuno said following the derby. "I made the wrong decisions. I refuse to go further than that. It's my responsibility. All that I have to say, I will say to the players, among us.

"The game plan didn't work out because we didn't decide it well."

Tottenham are experiencing the world's worst two-year hangover after their Champions League final defeat - their greatest manager in a generation ran out of steam, a world-renowned 'serial winner' couldn't work his magic, and the hot seat became the most poisoned chalice in the land.

The job fell into Nuno's lap, sparing him from smaller rebuilding tasks at Everton and Crystal Palace. When Jose Mourinho was sacked, no one expected the then-Wolves boss to be in the running to replace him.

That's in-part where the problem lies. Daniel Levy said in a statement in May that the club had lost sight of 'key priorities and what's truly in our DNA', admitting the next manager should be one who encouraged attacking football.

This somehow led to Nuno, who has now overseen 42 Premier League games in the last year with his sides scoring 37 goals.

Fabio Paratici
Paratici was hired as part of a hierarchical reshuffle / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Paulo Fonseca, who was in the running for the Spurs job in the summer, revealed last week that Fabio Paratici was partly why he did not sign a contract with the club. The former Juventus chief, handpicked by Levy as Spurs' new director of football, wanted a more defensive-minded manager.

Levy's grand plan to rebuild Tottenham was a failure before it had even started, butting heads with a man whose job was to take footballing power away from the board who employed him.

In the end, Nuno was seen as a compromise - he had Premier League experience and played attacking football with Valencia over half a decade ago. Some compromise.

The rebuilding job in the transfer market wasn't much better. Harry Kane's desire to leave and amateurish exit strategy hung over the club, while Paratici's scattergun approach saw Spurs linked with dozens of conflicting player profiles. He wasn't building a team, but a squad of mismatched players.

Spurs' start to the 2021/22 season has been unpredictable, but that stems from the problems upstairs - not one department of the club is in line with another and it's led to a string of random results and random performances.

The pandemic has shown how important preparation is in football - Man City and Man Utd both had dreadful starts to last season because of a lack of a pre-season. Tottenham Hotspur have failed to prepare on every level for nearly two years, and so they must be prepared for the club to fail.

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