Tottenham Hotspur are paying for their lack of strength in depth during the Premier League run-in, according to former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness.
Spurs were beaten 1-0 by West Ham United on Saturday afternoon, their first defeat at their new stadium, when a win would have all but confirmed third place.
What is Tottenham’s problem? Four key things to know…
- Tottenham have lost two of their last three Premier League games.
- While a defeat to Manchester City may have been forgiven, Spurs’ 1-0 loss to West Ham saw their team questioned.
- Tottenham’s late-season run includes two Champions League semi-final ties against Ajax.
- And Souness believes Tottenham are struggling to cope with their poor squad depth.
Michail Antonio scored the only goal of the afternoon in the second half, becoming the first opposition player to net at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the process.
The defeat came in Tottenham’s seventh of eight planned games for April, after their progress to the Champions League semi-finals, and though the club have been celebrating their achievements, Souness believes Tottenham are turning ‘Spursy’ once again.
“I think this is just the lack of numbers for Spurs coming back to bite them,” he told Sky Sports of Tottenham’s problems.
“We spoke about it before, they’ve done fabulously well to get to the semi-finals of the European Cup, but it’s come back to bite them.
“They couldn’t freshen it up, and I hate to say it, but it was a bit ‘Spursy’.
“When push comes to shove they knew how vital it was. I put it down to the quality outside the 13, 14 players isn’t there for them.”
With Harry Kane out injured and Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura starting, Tottenham had to rely on Fernando Llorente and Vincent Janssen as their attacking changes from the bench against West Ham – two players not currently in goalscoring form.
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Pochettino worried following first defeat at new home
The next two weeks are arguably the biggest Tottenham have experienced for some time, with the north London side playing for a potential Champions League final place.
Spurs welcome dark horses Ajax to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday before travelling to Amsterdam the following Wednesday.
And Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he is worried about how the West Ham defeat will affect his side.
“I am disappointed because it’s a setback,” he told reporters.
“We wanted to win the three points to be in a good position and arrive in the Champions League game in a very good mood and good way.
“The feeling for everyone has changed quickly. After the win here against Brighton on Tuesday everyone had a very good feeling – that we are having a fantastic season and we are going to arrive in our best condition.
“But after our defeat today it’s like we will arrive the complete opposite.”