Tottenham’s season went from bad to worse when their Champions League dream ended with a comprehensive defeat to RB Leipzig.
A depleted side went down 3-0 in the last-16 second leg, 4-0 on aggregate, and they have now gone six games without a win in all competition.
Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at their recent woes.
There is no doubt that there are clear mitigating circumstances in Tottenham’s demise and their shocking run of injuries to key players is the main one. Jose Mourinho must wonder what he has done to deserve such bad luck as, just as they were getting to grips with losing Harry Kane to a serious hamstring injury, as Son Heung-min also suffered a significant arm injury. They have not won a game since Son’s injury was confirmed. There have also been problems to Moussa Sissoko, Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies, Erik Lamela and Steven Bergwijn. That has left Mourinho desperately short in attacking areas, meaning players are playing out of position and are unable to be rotated. Mourinho has said that no other team in the world would be able to cope with the level of injuries he is contending with, and it is hard to disagree.
While Mourinho can point to having only untested 18-year-old Troy Parrott as a recognised striker and being unable to call on such big hitters in attack, there are no excuses at the other end. Spurs’ leaky defence has been a problem all season and Mourinho has been unable to fix it. They have kept just three clean sheets in 26 games and the Portuguese has often chopped and changed both players and formations. It has been far too easy to score against them and it has not helped that all three of their goalkeepers have been culpable for goals in recent weeks. Lloris has been particularly disappointing since his return from injury while Paulo Gazzaniga and Michel Vorm have also made mistakes. The whole back line, including the goalkeeper, will need a lot of attention in the summer transfer market.
Their comprehensive defeat against Leipzig ended any chance Mourinho had of winning silverware in his first few months at Spurs. Their Champions League exit came less than a week after a much more disappointing loss to Norwich in the FA Cup. It means that Spurs have only nine games left this season and their task is now to try to get back in the Champions League. It looks unlikely as they are seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and will have to hope Manchester City’s UEFA ban is upheld and that opens up a fifth place. Even then that is looking difficult, with this weekend’s clash against Manchester United seeming pivotal.
Former boss Mauricio Pochettino warned of the need for a “painful rebuild” long before his ruthless sacking in November, and results and performances under Mourinho have proved him right. This is a squad that is in need of major surgery as a number of players are either past their best or proved not good enough for Spurs to compete at the top end of English and European football. Mourinho will have his own ideas on what he needs to do to his squad but on the evidence of this season, he will need a new goalkeeper, two new full-backs, a top-quality central defensive midfielder and a back-up striker to Kane. Chairman Daniel Levy will have to get his chequebook out.