Tottenham Hotspur have moved into a futuristic new stadium with a stale team from the past as their Premier League season goes from bad to worse
- Spurs have spluttered through the first dozen games of the Premier League
- This season’s start is Spurs’ worst since 2008 under ex boss Juande Ramos
- Tottenham midefielder Moussa Sissoko said they are far away from the top four
- Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield United was a further indicator of their regress
Moussa Sissoko smiled wryly at the idea that winning the Champions League was fast becoming Tottenham’s best route back into Europe’s top competition.
‘Everyone will sign for that,’ he conceded. Who wouldn’t?
Spurs have spluttered through the first dozen games of the Premier League season and as their players dispersed on international duty, there was a hint of embarrassment in the air. Not because they drew with Sheffield United. They were gracious enough to accept Chris Wilder’s side had been excellent and deserved at least a point.
Spurs’ poor season continued on the weekend as they spluttered to a draw to Sheffield United
The Blades continue to impress, but after five years of progress under Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham have regressed to their worst start to a League campaign since 2008, when Juande Ramos was sacked.
‘We are maybe far, far away from the top four,’ said Sissoko. ‘I am very disappointed like everyone.
We knew this game was important. After a good win in Belgrade we wanted to keep going in that way, but we played against a good team, fighting from the beginning to the end.
‘So, there’s a lot of frustration. It looks like we are always missing something but what, I don’t know. It’s difficult to explain. Sometimes if you try to find it you can’t. We are all disappointed about this situation.
Moussa Sissoko has admitted that it will be difficult to maintain Champions League football
MARK CLATTENBURG ON VAR FROM SPURS’ DRAW ON SATURDAY
‘The Premier League must start using the 4D technology available from Hawk-Eye.
‘Only then will we avoid incidents such as Sheffield United’s disallowed goal, when John Lundstram was adjudged to be offside by the length of a toe.
‘The problem is that the operators are still using the naked eye to determine where the key points of players’ bodies are — the 4D technology will give a clear, precise picture for these marginal offside calls.
‘Right now, I’m not sure they can be certain, and that is creating debate when VAR was supposed to end it.’
‘All you can do is keep going, keep working and try to be better. The League is long and we know we can win a lot of games before the end of the season. We will try to catch the teams in front of us and we’ll see where we will be at the end.’
Everything was meant to come together once they escaped from temporary lodgings at Wembley and returned to the comfort of White Hart Lane, where Spurs dropped only two points in their final season at the old stadium.
But they seem to have stepped into a state-of-the-art home for the future with a stale team from the past. It might easily have been worse against Sheffield United, who created enough chances to win and were harshly treated by the video referee Jon Moss, who took nearly four minutes before ruling out what would have been David McGoldrick’s first Premier League goal, for a very marginal offside against John Lundstram in the build-up.
The north London club have made their worst start since 2008 under Juande Ramos
McGoldrick, who thought he had wiped out Son Heung-min’s opener, was under orders from the club not to go public with his feelings. ‘I’d end up banned for 10 games,’ said the Blades striker.
‘VAR’s killed us,’ said full-back George Baldock, whose goal survived a VAR check to earn a point and who was trusted to speak. ‘The margin is a different-sized boot. If you’re playing on the last man as a striker and you’ve got bigger feet than him, does that mean you’re offside?’
Tottenham suspect their gleaming new stadium is bringing the best out of opponents, who rise to the occasion like a cup final, but Pochettino’s team have been even worse on their travels.
Saturday’s draw with Sheffield United piled more misery on a side who are falling from grace
They have not won away from home since January, when Harry Winks scrambled a late winner at Fulham. Their next game is a short trip to out-of-form neighbours West Ham.
Spurs are picking up points at a better rate in the Champions League but that’s mostly down to the presence of Red Star Belgrade, beaten 5-0 and 4-0. They were unable to beat Olympiacos and the thrashing by Bayern Munich makes it hard to imagine them going all the way. It would be unlikelier than last season’s highly unlikely run to the final.
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