Nul points

Oh dear lord. Talk about a smack in the face. There I was in the build up to the Fiorentina game getting all hyped up, channelling the poetic essence of what our game should be about (desire for silverware) and we go and put in a limp Europa League performance and lose 2-0 on the night, 3-1 on aggregate. More fool me. I keep ignoring what the supporters want is not the same thing that clubs, coaches and players focus on. Prioritisation of games impacts the tempo and tenacity of the side, varying depending on the occasion. Take the North London Derby (we've not since matched that marvellous pressing game) or the 5-3 victory over Chelsea. Pick and choose when to turn up is the modern day ethic. There's an argument that we've not really turned up in this competition since the days of Martin Jol.

So what went wrong on the night? Practically everything in the most apologetic of ways that Spurs expertly package in textbook deja vu style that snaps you out of the delusion of comfortable game-plan and clinical prowess.

Yes, we've got a cup final on Sunday. Yes, we all know our squad has a solid spine but not enough flesh around its bones. Yes, we've never treated this competition like anything more than an afterthought, an inconvenience. Thursday nights love to deflate a weekend game. Then we deflate ourselves the moment the group stages end and the knock-our begins.

We lost this tie in the first game at the Lane when we didn't bury the visitors. Add to it Roberto Soldado managing to caress the ball so gently that I'm surprised the both of them haven't eloped. Striking the ball or passing it for a certain goal, beyond his capabilities. Add to it two defensive lapses from Federico Fazio and then Jan Vertonghen and you've got a gift-wrapped 2-0 home team win to send us crashing out.

We didn't create that many chances. The hosts just picked us off whilst we looked the usual disjointed mess we've come to expect in these games.

We're out of form. Again, it's probably all down to Chelsea on Sunday. At least that's a one off where you would expect us to turn up. It ticks the right boxes that sees the players elevate themselves to the required standards. Shame this first 'cup final' turned out to be a calamity.

Play a relatively strong side but ultimately not strong enough because we only have one selection that truly works and that'll be the one carrying the weight of expectations at Wembley.

Suddenly, it all becomes clear. This is why the club and the players want Champions League. Because no one is interested in showcasing their enthusiasm in the Europa. Win a domestic cup or finish 5th and we're back in it again. We don't have enough about us to stand a chance of winning it (and qualifying automatically) which explains why we never really looked that bothered.

I hate all the caveats and political baggage. Win something silver we can stick ribbons on. One more chance to go.

 

metro.co.uk/author/spooky23