Tottenham Must Find a Way to Win Big Games or Risk Wasting Golden Generation
The sight of Mauricio Pochettino standing on the touchline, arms folded, eyes staring firmly ahead with a look of confused frustration on his face is becoming too familiar for Tottenham Hotspur fans.
Pochettino’s pose came about shortly after Juventus had scored twice in the space of three second-half minutes to turn their Champions League tie on its head and progress to the last eight.
Over the two games, Tottenham was better than Juventus, far better. But we’ve been here before and for all the promise that Spurs have, the brilliant football they are capable of and the star names in their squad, the simple fact remains that rivals Arsenal – a derided Arsenal – have three major titles to their name since their North London rivals last won a trophy in 2008.
At times during the game at Wembley on Wednesday, the casual observer would have thought Tottenham were the established force in European football, the regular collector of trophies, the side often fighting deep into the Champions League. Across all of the pitch, Spurs were dominant and at times Juventus was chasing shadows. But when it came to kill off the tie, after Heung-min Son had given Spurs the lead in the first half, Pochettino’s men were found wanting.
From nowhere, Gonzalo Higuain drew Juve level when he found space in the box, and with Spurs still reeling from the concession, the striker sent his Argentina international teammate Paulo Dybala clear to score. You knew from the moment Dybala raced onto the ball fully 35 yards from goal the ball was destined for the back of Hugo Lloris’ net. At big moments, big players and big teams make their opportunities count.
Tottenham could be at that level, they have the playing personnel, style of football and forward-thinking manager to do it. But they keep stumbling, and Juventus’ hard-man defender Giorgio Chiellini – who put in an epic shift at Wembley – laid bare what too many in football are thinking.
“It’s the history of Tottenham,” Chiellini said, per the Independent. “They always create many chances and score so much, but in the end they miss [lack] something. We believe in the history. I think also yesterday in the game between Real and Paris, the history is important. Spurs just need that little something to start winning games like this – a trophy, a spark, a something.
”When you can’t win with great football, you have to find another route.”
The key for Pochettino and Spurs is to find that route, as they are in danger of squandering the promise of a brilliant team.
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