Tottenham verdict: Jose Mourinho, Gary Neville and more assess Spurs situation
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Last Updated: 27/10/19 6:58pm
As Tottenham seek a first league win in three to avoid losing more ground on the top four, Sky Sports' pundits assess what's gone wrong in north London and where they go from here.
Despite a 5-0 thumping of Red Star in the Champions League in midweek, it's been a difficult few weeks for Mauricio Pochettino and his side, who had won only one of their seven previous games and needed a controversial late equaliser to earn a point against 20th-placed Watford at home last weekend.
So what's gone wrong for Spurs, and how can they fix it? Ahead of their visit to table-toppers Liverpool on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday, here's the verdict of Sky Sports' biggest pundits on last year's Champions League runners-up.
Neville: Tottenham stuck in catch 22
I've got a little bit of sympathy for Tottenham because they had an exceptional team for two or three years with great talents that I think clubs like Manchester United and Real Madrid would have taken their big players off them.
Those players know that, so they have a choice to make. They either sell those players and cash in - like Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen. Or they keep them, and those players won't re-sign a new contract, and then those contracts run down.
So they've been in a difficult situation but the big thing with Tottenham is that they won't break their wage structure. They won't go and do what United have done over the past three years and pay people huge money to keep them - they will always stick within that [structure].
So they're a little bit between the devil and the deep blue sea. Daniel Levy couldn't sell them before the new stadium as they needed to fill seats.
I think [Mauricio] Pochettino, Kane, Alli, Eriksen, Alderweireld had to be at the club for the fans to buy the season tickets, to create that momentum. I feel ordinarily, Levy would have cashed in five years ago. He would've pulled in the money and got £180m or more.
It'll be interesting to see what he does with Eriksen in January because I imagine United would pay £50-£60m for somebody who is out of contract in six months just to get him.
Mourinho: Wantaway players a problem
I always felt that the biggest investment Tottenham could do is what they did in previous seasons, which was to keep their best players. That's the best investment you can do.
Some clubs can do both - keep the best players and buy other top players. Some, they don't and they have to make a choice. I feel Spurs showed clearly that they felt the group was fantastic, with a lot of English players, and they were close to creating history.
I don't like to keep players who don't want to stay at the club. I'm not even thinking of the economical perspective, but the emotion of the player.
We loved [Arjen] Robben and wanted to keep him [at Chelsea], but he wanted to join Real Madrid, so there are some moments when motivation affects the performance and it's very difficult to keep a player really happy when he has other thoughts.
Carragher: Time for Pochettino to go
How I explain it is that I think this cycle is over for this Tottenham team - and I love this Tottenham team, and I love this Tottenham manager.
But last season, getting to the Champions League final papered over some of the cracks slightly. They lost 20 games last season.
So that was my worry for them. Are they going to get back to what we have seen in the last few years from them at the start of this season, or has this team realised it's not quite good enough to win the Premier League, or to win the Champions League?
It feels like it's physical and it's mental maybe in the dressing room too. There is a lack of intensity and it comes from the fact they have been together so long and they are not quite good enough. It looks to me like this is the end of it now.
They are not going to win the Premier League or the Champions League now. They are just about qualifying for the top four and that was the remit three or four years ago.
Merson: Worrying times for Spurs
It's very strange what's going on at Tottenham because you think they are going to start afresh against Watford at the weekend, leave their troubles behind and get on a roll. However, they go behind early, which you think is not a problem, but they can't go on to win the game. And how fortunate they are with their goal is bordering on a joke.
They are now fighting to get into the top four. You really don't want to move into the new stadium and within one season you are not in the Champions League. Something's going on there. I don't know what it is but this team, with the quality it has, can't be turning in performances like they have done.
These players are very fortunate that they play in a good team and these teams do not come along too often. This could be the best team they ever play in and to think they are just going to breeze through it would be a shame.
You'd expect Spurs to be beating the likes of Watford and Brighton. They should be getting maximum points against that sort of opposition. It's very worrying times for Tottenham.
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