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By George Lacey
Monday, February 24, 2014
Tottenham blogger George Lacey gives his verdict on yesterday’s costly 1-0 defeat at Norwich City’s Carrow Road.
The most noteworthy action in the first 45 minutes at Carrow Road came before referee Craig Pawson’s first whistle was blown.
A giant, inflatable football had to be booted into touch by Norwich captain Russell Martin moments before kick-off - an event that gave the crowd an early cheer.
There was little else to please the visiting Spurs fans after that.
Tim Sherwood’s side have been impressive since he took over as head coach and, prior to yesterday’s game, the expectation was for another three points.
However, the 1-0 defeat was pretty kind on us in retrospect, as we were dreadful throughout the entire game.
Five of Spurs’ seven Premier League defeats this season have followed Europa League fixtures, and we certainly looked like a side that had played in Ukraine on Thursday night.
Nonetheless, that was no excuse for our shockingly bad performance, considering we left key personnel behind for the trip to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in midweek.
The mystery over Sherwood’s team selection, followed by some strange substitutions, didn’t help the cause.
Christian Eriksen played less than half an hour against Dnipro on Thursday, and he starred during our promising run of form after Sherwood took charge.
It was presumed Eriksen would be fresh for the weekend but, surprisingly, the playmaker was an unused sub - a decision that clearly back-fired.
I was also baffled when our Brazilian goal threat Paulinho made his way off the pitch on 65 minutes to be replaced by Roberto Soldado, who himself missed a couple of glorious chances to equalise when we were chasing the game.
As a result of starting slowly, we lost a game that we were expected to win and consequently handed Liverpool a huge advantage in the race for the top four - their lead has now been extended to six points after the weekend’s fixtures.
Personally, I feel we suffered without Kyle Walker. His constant forward runs were sorely missed and in his absence was his vastly inferior namesake Kyle Naughton.
However, we have to expect injuries and that’s part and parcel of having to play 60-plus games in a season.
If at first you don’t succeed, use your substitutions wisely, and I feel we got it wrong yesterday in that department.
We struggled to beat Everton two weeks ago and have now lost two games in three days by a 1-0 score-line - both of which have been dreadful performances.
Given the circumstances domestically, the latest blow in Spurs’ crazy season may be the game the fans pinpoint as the day we handed Liverpool Champions League football for next season on a silver platter.
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