A decent away day in Florence. What a difference a year makes. The haunting of our last encounter with Fiorentina and the ghost of Roberto Soldado exorcised.
Eriksen effort from long range. Petulant Alli kick on Tomović. Zarate chance. Davies into the box from a 1-2 with Carroll, foul and pen. Chadli 1-0. Zarate with another chance. Half-time. Dembele on. Chadli run, turn and shot saved. 1-1, shot looped off captain Mason who didn't commit to blocking and dipped with pace over Vorm. Great move, ends with Alli overhead over wide. Kane and Dier subbed on. Vorm save from Zarate. Ball fizzes across six yard box from corner. 1-1 FT, job done.
It wasn't always comfortable but Spurs are able to compete even if they drop a few levels in performance thanks to smart rotation and prioritisation of mental excursion. We know we can contain teams without having to be at full strength. The art of streamlining the squad, a major showcase compared to previous seasons when these games were an excuse for fringe and deadwood to make cameo appearances.
There's no arrogance in being confident we'll have enough to push past them in the second leg and move into the last sixteen. Not bad for a competition that isn't the one dominating our frontal lobe.
Main talking point? It's obviously that kick from the foot of Dele Alli on Nenad Tomović. He got yellow carded when it so easily could have been red. What Alli did was a disgrace. Disgusted with the lad. If you're gonna kick an opposing player, put more effort into it ffs. Don't be a pussy.
Seriously mode activated; it's not worth focusing too much on this. No need to demonise the kid. We know he has fighting spirit and he's young and I guess as composed as he's been with his football, controlling his temperament is something that will come with time and experience. He didn't need to be sent off to learn his lesson. A quiet word (along with a public one) from Mauricio Pochettino is more than enough to remind him what he can and can't get away with. A case of curbing ones enthusiasm but not removing it completely.
Spurs have often lacked players with bottle, that extra edge and spark to get stuck in. That's the other type of stuck in rather than in the fashion Alli delivered with his impossible to miss gentle poke at the gut of Tomović.
I love watching him and the likes of Rose, Dier and Kane stand up for team-mates and face up to opposing players. Nothing wrong with that. It's a necessity. Brothers in arms. Just have a valid reason to react to something that puts the onus on the opposing player to fear us rather than allow them to become a victim and make sure you get punished for it.
Tomović actually confronted Alli and didn't roll around playing the dying part. In fact he reacted to it much like Alli and others have reacted to similar incidents that have happened against us. Best we agree to bypass the suicide missions. What good is a platoon with needless sacrifices?
Looking at Alli's reaction, you could say he was playing innocent but personally, I thought he knew exactly how much he ****ed up. Forgive and forget.
That's it really. Don't wish for a player to change the very traits that make up his on the field personality. Bit of context. He's come from League One. He'll hopefully control when and where and how to use all that energy and eagerness.
March on Tottenham. Europe partially conquered. Now for another cup battle on home territory.