There is a crisis at Tottenham Hotspur and it is one of the clubs own making. A fiasco of a managerial search ended with the appointment of a manager who was available throughout the majority of the search in Nuno Espirito Santo, following publicly failed attempts to appoint Paulo Fonseca and Antonio Conte. Ultimately the club appointed Espirito Santo on a two-year deal but he was never the manager that they had wanted and that is looking to be a move that was made in desperation rather than with any thought or due diligence.
Growing Crisis at Tottenham Hotspur
Manager Fiasco Leaves Daniel Levy Open to Criticism
Daniel Levy took the decision to sack Jose Mourinho just days before the 2021 Carabao Cup final and set about finding the manager who could take the club forward.
In his 2020/21 end of season programme notes Levy told fans that he realised the club needed to get back to its DNA.
“As a club, we have been so focused on delivering the stadium and dealing with the impact of the pandemic, that I feel we lost sight of some key priorities and what’s truly in our DNA.”
Levy talked about the football Spurs fans want to see and wanting to attack so seeking out managers such as Pablo Fonseca made sense. Antonio Conte was a popular choice amongst fans and talks progressed but he eventually walked away. Fonseca has recently said he was ready to take the job but things changed with the appointment of new director of football, Fabio Paratici.
Eventually, it was former Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Espirito Santo who took the reigns but he had been available throughout the process and it felt like an appointment that was made out of necessity in an attempt to reduce the embarrassment that the club had brought upon themselves throughout the search.
Stats Show Tottenham Players Not Doing Enough
Tottenham may have won their first three games of the season 1-0 but despite those nine points, they looked blunt in attack and lacked creativity, while the statistics reveal a worrying sense of players not knowing what they are supposed to do under the new manager.
Tottenham's attacking record in the Premier League this season:
Goals – 16th
Goals from open play – 16th
Total shots – 19th
Big chances created – 19th
Expected goals – 20th
[Opta via Sky Sports] pic.twitter.com/hpi0RuftnJ
— The Spurs Web ⚪️ (@thespursweb) September 21, 2021
This is a squad with Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Sergio Reguilon, Lucas Moura, Dele Alli in it yet these stats are damning. Sky Sports also revealed a stat showing Tottenham have only covered 99.9 kilometres in the league this season, the worst of any club. That lack of energy was summed up by Arsenal’s first goal in September’s North London derby. As Arsenal attacked, both Tanguy Ndombele and Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg can be seen jogging back from midfield. The lack of desire to get back and defend epitomised the woeful performance from Spurs and it raises further questions about the manager’s tactics and whether the players are on board with his ideas.
Harry Kane – Defeated, Unhappy and a Shadow of Former Self
When Kane announced that he was remaining with Tottenham following a summer transfer saga where his desired move to Manchester City was blocked by Levy, it was seen by many as a result of a strong stance from the chairman and with the striker still having three years left on his contract, a stance that was justified. Keeping the clubs best players is what every owner wants to do but in this instance it is starting to look like Levy may have been better to cut his losses and cash in on Kane.
Following the failed transfer, Kane looks defeated, unhappy and a shadow of the player football has been used to seeing season in, season out. Prior to the Arsenal defeat, Kane had just two attempts on goal and ten touches in opposition boxes and is rarely troubling defences. He is coming deep to try and make things happen but is playing with head bowed and looks like a player who would rather be doing anything else than playing for the club he has given everything to and that is a huge problem for Espirito Santo. Dropping the clubs best player is unlikely but the longer the situation continues, the more it looks that Kane’s actions in the summer continue to unsettle the squad.
What was supposed to have been Levy’s masterstroke is fast becoming a decision he and the club may live to regret. Kane’s value will dip as he enters the last two years of his contract and his current performances will only further reduce that value meaning Levy needs to be careful that he doesn’t lose the player for nothing when his contract ends.
Tottenham Hotspur in Crisis – Can Espirito Santo Turn Things Around
Things change very quickly in football and from Tottenham’s opening day win against Manchester City to three defeats in three with nine goals conceded is testament to that fact. A couple of wins can put Spurs back on the right track but further losses can only deepen a crisis that started long before this season. Espirito Santo will be looking over his shoulder already and Levy is not known for his patience with managers so something must change quickly.
The issue for the manager is that he is dealing with players who have been nowhere near their best for three years and it might just be that no manager can change the course of the Tottenham ship right now and there should be no mistake that it is a ship sinking fast.