Europa League group stage
ARNHEM SPEED 1 (Wittek 78)
THE question of whether Tottenham have the capacity to fight on all fronts produced a negative response tonight (Thursday) as a team made up of first-team bench warmers put in an abject performance against the Dutch team Arnhem speed.
This Europa League loss by a lone second-half goal from Maximilian Wittek may have been Tottenham’s first loss in the competition – but it means Spurs now sit third in the group with three games to go. .
During this screening, manager Nuno Espirito Santo will have to create a better mix of regulars and aspirants to progress in the knockout stages.
Speaking after the game, Nuno pointed out that the winning goal came from a hugely questionable free kick – one of the many whistles that happy referee Harm Osmers got wrong in a second half – choppy and physical time.
“It was a tough game against a good team,” said the Tottenham boss. “There were times when we did well, but we learned a few details.
“In attack we could do more and we should finish the actions. We have had good situations. Their goal came from a foul which I think can be argued, but there should be more coverage at the edge of the box.
“The Europa Conference Conference is like that, there are always difficult times. We have two home games which I really believe can help us resolve the group. “
Nuno also defended the decision to leave at home all the players who were part of the Premier League win over Newcastle on Sunday, adding: “We have players who work hard and deserve games. The Conference League is a chance for them to get minutes.
It was truly a Tottenham B side meeting a capable side that sit in sixth place in the Eredivisie – but such an excuse seems flimsy.
Despite enjoying much of the ball in the first half, Spurs failed to create any real chances. When Arnhem seized possession, they looked more determined and ruthless than their humble opponents.
The home side came out stronger in the second half, and Spurs were only allowed to string a small number of passes deep in their own half – whenever they tried to venture forward, Arnhem harassed and harassed, and Nuno’s charges were completely beaten.
It was a particularly disappointing sight from the creatives who felt they should be part of the first team. Dele Alli frustrated, his flick and trick attempts were too easily stifled and his decision making did not match his experience.
Giovani Lo Celso, playing center and tasked with being the heart of the Tottenham squad, played dispassionately. The Argentina international has too often failed to afford a pass or an outlet, and seemed content to trot for the 90 minutes.
Tottenham’s only strong points were Joe Rodon, who was generally solid at the back, and Bryan Gil, who tried to wake his entourage up but with little luck. Gil’s 25-yard strike early in the second half crashed into the crossbar and was Spurs’ closest goal.
It was desperately poor stuff and won’t do anything for the confidence of the players on the team who failed the audition. With a draw, a win and now a loss, Nuno has no room for mistakes if Tottenham are to play in Europe after Christmas.
Arnhem speed: Schubert, Doekhi, Bazoer, Rasmussen, Dasa, Bero, Tronstad, Wittek (Hajek, 87), Frederiksen (Buitink, 85), Darfalou, Openda (Oroz, 90 + 1)
Unused substitutes: Houwen, van Haveren, von Moos, Gboho, Domgjoni, Yapi, Vroegh, Cornelisse, Huisman
Spurs: Gollini, Tanganga, Rodon, Sanchez, Davies, Winks, Lo Celso, Gil, Alli, Bergwijn, Scarlett (Markanday, 75)
Unused substitutes: Austin, White, John, Fagan-Walcott, Clarke, Cesay, Matthew Craig, Michael Craig, Lyons-Foster