Still in purgatory

It just wouldn't be Spurs if they didn't give you a slice of cake then snatch it back before you can take a bite. If there's a football club that personifies the essence of the ominous - it's us. Two nil up? All looking good? Naturally, it will end a score draw. Why? Because in purgatory, you're neither here or there. You're just in the middle and you don't quite know where you're going. Welcome to the brand new season at the Lane where old habits die hard.

So what of our 2-2 home draw against Stoke City? May as well look back and remind ourselves of the good and bad. Leicester away on Saturday. Third game. If it doesn't end with a victory, mercy on our souls.

 

The Facepalms

The second half. Mentally, we just let it go. Perhaps this is the result of youth and not enough experience in key areas - but Stoke were invited back via the penalty and then constantly encouraged to test Hugo Lloris and our backline. Spurs got softer and softer and then they equalised. There was not enough in the way of leadership to hold it all together.

The midfield has no binding defensive midfield presence. Eric Dier, Ryan Mason...it isn't fair to burden them with such hefty responsibility. Spurs need someone far more robust to anchor the midfield during stormy weather. The lack of leadership can be connected to the lack of a genuine top drawer DM to break up play and aid with dictating the tempo.

No Harry Kane, no party. When he was subbed we lost all impetus. Clinton N'jie will inject pace but we need another option so that we do not surrender our momentum in this fashion again. If you lose the bullets from a gun then you can't fire it. Lobbing the gun at the target is hardly an alternative strategy if your aim is to hit it.

Erik Lamela still doesn't look like he's bulked up physically.  He hasn't acclimatised. I don't know what his role or purpose is meant to be and I don't think he does either. He has talent. He can be brilliant in moments but he lacks influence and sustained intent. He grafts but desperately needs guidance. At the moment he's still involved because he cost us £30M.

 

The positives

For an hour, we looked decent. We bossed possession and even though we didn't carve out more chances, there wasn't anything to suggest we'd collapse against what was a misfiring away side, we were comfortable and reacted positively to any strain on our defence. There was more good than bad in the game as a whole - but the latter was far more lasting in the aftermath. Mauricio Pochettino citied 'consistency', so lesson learnt: The game is 90 minutes, not 60.

Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen produced worldy football with brilliant touches to create goal-scoring opportunities. Kane dispelling myths about his ability, displaying visionary traits. Eriksen's pass to Nacer Chadli was sublime and only ruined by the heavy touch that greeted it.

We pressed but we also pushed forward. In the first half, Spurs controlled the game. It was lively in comparison to so many of the dull affairs that White Hart Lane has endured in recent times. There was a hint of style in there. Look hard enough, I'm certain I saw it.

It was disappointing to give the points away but we got what we deserved and the faults are fixable - if the chairman looks to back the coach before deadline day.

If.