Tottenham: Shock Europa League defeat leaves Spurs in need of a Carabao Cup final win and Premier League top-four charge

Tottenham were stunned 3-0 by Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday, a defeat which saw them knocked out of the Europa League; Spurs must now focus on the Carabao Cup final and top-four race; watch Aston Villa vs Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm on Sunday; kick-off 7.30pm

Gareth Bale and Harry Kane in discussion during Tottenham's defeat to Dinamo Zagreb
Image: Gareth Bale and Harry Kane in discussion during Tottenham's defeat to Dinamo Zagreb

Tottenham will be targeting a Carabao Cup final win and top-four charge to salvage their season after their Europa League exit. But is that realistic?

Jose Mourinho's side were stunned 3-0 by Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday evening, a result which sent them crashing out of the Europa League.

Spurs boss Mourinho and captain Hugo Lloris were extremely critical of the performance, which came on the back of a poor north London derby defeat to Arsenal.

Ahead of their trip to Aston Villa this Sunday, Sky Sports football journalist Charlotte Marsh appeared on the Pitch to Post Preview Podcast to assess Spurs' situation and whether they can come up with a positive response to still make a success of this campaign...

Listen to the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox

How bad was the performance in Zagreb?

Marsh: "It was a really poor performance. Worse than Sunday by far. They had no control, there was no tempo, there were too many mistakes, the defending was really scrappy, and they just had no idea how to handle Zagreb.

"No offence to Zagreb, they were a pretty average team - but they took advantage of Tottenham's glaring insecurities.

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"The first half was pretty bad - Spurs weren't great, Zagreb weren't much better. But you thought if it continues like that, Spurs might be able to see it through by the skin of their teeth, into the last eight, job done. After that first goal - which was amazing - you thought it might light a fire under Spurs, but it didn't.

"There was a bit of a reaction after the second goal, towards the end of the second half. But that didn't carry through to the start of extra-time and only when they went 3-0 down with about 10 minutes to play did some kind of quality and some sort of attacking prowess shine through. But it was too little too late.

"Let's make no mistake about it - Tottenham going out of the Europa League is pretty bad. But in this manner, with this kind of abject performance? It's pretty catastrophic."

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'Spurs look like they're lacking direction'

Marsh: "It's worrying when you have players like Harry Kane, who has played in a Champions League final, and Gareth Bale, who has scored in Champions League finals, and these kinds of players just not having a clue what to do.

"Kane, like in the north London derby, there wasn't much from him. Bale did a bit better. But the player who sparked them into life somewhat was Giovanni Lo Celso who came back from injury and hasn't played since December. Even then, they just didn't know what to do and how to handle the situation.

"I was surprised after the first half Jose Mourinho didn't change anything but there was nothing until the 60th minute. Frankly, they got what they deserved."

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Jose Mourinho says his Tottenham side were beaten 'on attitude' after they crashed out of the Europa League 3-0 (3-2 agg) after extra-time against Dinamo Zagreb

Can Spurs close gap on top four to qualify for Champions League? Or win the Carabao Cup?

Marsh: "If you take it on the last two games, then absolutely not. If you take it on the five games before that, then yes, maybe. It's a complete lottery - like much of the Premier League is this season.

"Losing at the weekend, they were reprieved somewhat in the sense that Chelsea drew, West Ham and Everton both lost, and if they win against Villa this weekend, they'll be three points off the top four.

"They then face Everton and Manchester United after the international break - and those two fixtures really could decide where they finish this season.

"But ultimately they can't rely on other sides for their results and if they play like they have done in the last two games, they're not going to be in Europe at all next season. For a team like Tottenham and a manager like Jose Mourinho, that really is bad.

"With the Carabao Cup final, if they play like they have done, Man City are going to run all over them. But anything can happen in a final and if they did win silverware, it would be a reprieve for Mourinho - but this is still a massive, massive blow for them."

Listen to the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox

What response will we get against Aston Villa?

Marsh: "You'd hope for some kind of reaction and performance against Aston Villa but then Tottenham fans were probably thinking they'd get that after the north London derby, against Zagreb, in the Europa League, with a 2-0 lead from the first leg. And we've seen how that turned out.

"I think something needs to change. They really missed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the middle of midfield but the big thing for them is whether Jack Grealish will be back for Aston Villa."

What the pundits said

Jamie O'Hara told Sky Sports News: "Tactically, I think they were all over the place. What was the plan going into the game? It was a basketball match. Too many players were not leaders on the pitch. Giving the ball away on the pitch. You cannot give the ball away in Europe because you don't get it back.

"It was a fantastic performance by Dinamo but Spurs gave them the lift, gave them the belief. That is one of the worst performances from Tottenham that I have seen in a long time."

Clinton Morrison told Sky Sports News: "Players like Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son want to play in the Champions League. Spurs are not going to be in the Champions League next season now.

"It is a huge body blow for Tottenham and the Tottenham fans."

Pitch to Post Preview - Brighton vs Newcastle assessed. Plus: How will Spurs respond to their Europa League shocker, and will West Ham boost their top-four chances against Arsenal?

In this week's Pitch to Post Preview Podcast, Sky Sports News' Elliot Cook and Keith Downie join Peter Smith to look ahead to a crucial clash in the battle against relegation, which sees Brighton host Newcastle on Saturday night. From analysis of what's gone wrong this season, to tactics for this clash, and what defeat would mean for both managers, we have the ultimate lowdown on this pivotal game.

We also have the latest on Arsenal, following their progress to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, and ask Sky Sports football journalist Ron Walker whether West Ham can topple their London rivals.

Plus, Sky Sports football journalist Charlotte Marsh reacts to Tottenham's disastrous defeat to Dinamo Zagreb and discusses whether Jose Mourinho's side can salvage their season domestically, starting with a tricky trip to Aston Villa.

Listen to the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox

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