Next season, anyone?
Not sure at the moment what is more depressing. Manchester City's style of football, the fact the 1-0 loss was one of our better performances yet summed up our season thanks to the lack of cutting edge or the irony that Crouch completed his trilogy - scored the goal to get us into the CL at Eastlands 1-0, red card in Madrid pivotal to us getting knocked-out, OG at Eastlands 1-0. Quadruple in fact if you include his goals against Young Boys.
Better team on the night, second best across the season in terms of accumulating those all important points. Reason for failure? Lack of those all important goals. Twenty less than last season.
At this away day fixture (at Eastlands) last year we had 70 points from thirty seven games. We've got 56 from thirty six currently. It's a massive dip in form, by all concerned (City currently sit on 65). The simple fact of the matter is that even though our opponents are as sexy as Dot Cotton in hot pants and a wet t-shit, they have proved to be more efficient than us when its comes to winning games. On the night it tactically paid off for Mancini. Defend and sit back, Spurs will huff and puff but they wont be blowing no house down. They scored because we let them. They scored because we scored for them.
Our flaws are fundamental ones discussed to death on this blog, on other blogs, on message boards and in the stands. Flaws we'll debate once the season is done and dusted and we look to devise the perfect Tottenham blueprint amongst ourselves in an attempt to calm our emotions and move swiftly through the stages of grief. So I won't be slicing up the deceased body and completing an autopsy on account of the fact that I already know the case of death.
Erotic asphyxiation. Fatal attempt at turning oneself on. Toe tag attached.
Positives from last tonight? Gallas, Rose, Sandro, Modric. We need a forward(s) to push us forward once more. We need to bring back the Kyles from loan and sign a couple more players (to replace the ones that will be sold) for that extra padded squad depth. City might look to spend another bundle to consolidate but their brand of uninspiring offensive movement and their calculated deep defensive play leaves me with an epiphany that the time-share will fall back into our laps next season. For all the cash spent, they're hardly better than us. They are, but they're not. You know exactly what I mean, it's not a conundrum. They didn't buy fourth spot (technically they did, compare the wage bills). We took it back to the shop, gift wrapped it then hand delivered the sonofab*tch.
One win in our last ten league games. Nine home draws overall. Not good.
They retained some measure of consistency whereas we failed to match the tenacity of the back end of last season when we truly took the scruff and went for the jugular. City, for all the negatives we wish to throw at them, got the job done. We didn't.
So congratulations to the blue side of Manchester and the fans who bothered to turn up but only the ones that have supported them for a period of time that would allow me to refer to them as long suffering. Enjoy the Champions League experience. Perhaps you'll sell out a game or two. Perhaps you might even endeavour to attack your opponents. Make sure you're facing the right way otherwise you might miss it.
As for us?
For all our faults, for all our mistakes at least we can pin point the error of our ways. It's a missed opportunity to build on last season by avoiding further transition (and applying even more pressure on City and Liverpool), but no point in dwelling on it beyond accepting responsibility for those fatal flaws. If chairman and manager can do that and not dither in the transfer window or get distracted by this persistent obsession with that crock of crap in Stratford or relegated West Ham United players then we might just capture that missing spark just in time for August. Except that this time next year we'll be mill...we'll be top four. Top three.
Don't be sad, don't be suicidal. We've waited twenty years, we can all wait another season for a second stab at the CL.