Sunday 23 July 2017

Spurs fail to rediscover their swagger

Sunderland 0 Tottenham 0

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino during tonight's game
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino during tonight's game
Billy Jones and his Sunderland teammates held out to earn a goalless draw with Tottenham Hotspur. Photo: Getty

Luke Edwards

This draw would have felt like a victory for Sunderland and a setback for Tottenham Hotspur, a night for the home team to focus on the positives and for the visitors not to dwell on a disappointment.

A share of the points was a fair result, which did little good to either team in terms of their league position. Sunderland stay in the bottom three, Tottenham remain in the top four, but the London side need to win these kind of games to maintain a realistic hope of catching Chelsea.

Results among Tottenham's rivals last night will have sharpened their frustration. This was an opportunity missed.

With one defeat - away at Manchester United - in their past 12 games, Mauricio Pochettino's side had been in superb form, muscling their way up the table with weaker teams brushed aside.

Spurs have the talent to compete with the best in England and land the big prizes, but do they have the mentality to pull it all together? Should this season end with a sense of deflation, as the last did, when pressure and fatigue ended their thrilling pursuit of Leicester City in the spring, Tottenham will be written off as nearly-men again.

There have been other clubs like them in the Premier League era: Newcastle United under Kevin Keegan and Bobby Robson, Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa, Everton under Sunderland's current manager, David Moyes. All failed to win a trophy yet all were good enough to have done so.

Spurs dominated possession, but David Moyes's men clung on as Billy Jones somehow diverted an effort from Dele Alli over the bar after a poor clearing header from Lamine Koné. For all their endeavour, the home side deserved a point. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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