It’s fair to say that the new-manager bounce which Tottenham Hotspur were enjoying under Antonio Conte has well and truly deflated. Suddenly, Spurs can’t buy a Premier League win for love nor money, with the recent 2-0 home loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers their third defeat on the spin.
The problem is not so much that they’ve lost the matches, but the manner in which they’ve done so. It was always going to be tough playing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and things could have been different if Harry Kane’s first-half goal hadn’t been disallowed, but the reality is Spurs offered nothing in the way of resistance after going behind.
Then, with a 2-1 lead against Southampton in their next league match, Spurs contrived to throw the three points away, conceding through headers by Mohamed Elyounoussi and Che Adams in quick succession to somehow snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
The latest disappointment was that 2-0 defeat to Wolves, in which Tottenham were second best for the majority of the match and were fortunate not to lose by more. For a team who might once have held pretentions of challenging in the odds to win the English Premier League, they are a long way off.
Suddenly, the good feelings which surrounded the club in the early days of Conte’s reign have dissipated, and the inevitable resentment is starting to bed in around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium once again. There’s no denying that Spurs have stagnated in the years since they reached the Champions League final in 2019, but it seems as though Conte has a bigger rebuilding job on his hands than he perhaps realised at first.
The Italian has frequently made it clear that he expects more from his players, and it’s hard to argue with him when you see some of the defensive errors being made at crucial points in matches. Having said that, it is up to the manager to instil confidence in his team, and one wonders if Tottenham’s players are growing fed up with their manager playing down their chances.
The only way to prove everyone wrong is for the players to knuckle down and start producing the performances we all know they are capable of. Harry Kane’s goal return has improved of late, but he is still performing nowhere near his maximum level, and the same can be said of a lot of Tottenham’s team.
Right now, not many will fancy Spurs’ chances in the Premier League score predictions, and with a trip to Manchester City next on the agenda for Conte’s side, things are likely to get worse before they get better.
Although Tottenham sit in eighth place at the time of writing, there is still plenty to play for. They still have three games in hand over fourth-place West Ham United, with just five points separating the two teams. That should serve as motivation for Tottenham’s players, the idea that if they can put together a string of results there can still be a glorious ending to this topsy-turvy campaign.
Right now, they look a little bit lost, and it remains to be seen whether Conte can get his message across to this current group of players or if they will need major reinforcements in the summer. The Italian is famous for his no-nonsense approach, and Tottenham’s players will need to start performing if they don’t want Conte to jump ship before it sinks.