Late collapse? Last August was Tottenham's biggest downfall

Daniel Levy

Tottenham should blame their failure to finish in the top four on a poor start to the season.

Tottenham achieved their record Premier League points total this season, a quite notable achievement considering their poor start to the 2012/13 season.

While they threw away a lead over rivals Arsenal in the final weeks, it is in many ways a real achievement that they were in a position to do so, having handed their rivals a headstart this season.

Rewind back to the beginning of the season and Tottenham Hotspur were a team lacking direction - mainly thanks to a disastrous summer.

They only won a game at their fourth attempt, away to Reading, picking up just two points from a possible nine over their first three games.

The first match was at away to Newcastle, a 2-1 loss in which looking back they were very unfortunate, to be facing a Toon side full on confidence of the season before, rather than traveling to them late on in the season when that zip had been beaten out of Alan Pardew's side.

If that was unfortunate, Spurs had only themselves to blame for failing to pick up maximum points at home to Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion.

Both matches finished in 1-1 draws with Spurs taking the lead in both, pegged back conceding late goals and dropping points along the way.

The start placed Andre Villas-Boas under unnecessary early pressure, which didn't relent until he saw his side pick up a memorable and rare away win over Manchester United, one which really sparked their season's revival.

Dropping early points under the tutelage of a new manager was not entirely unexpected, especially one who was managing a side not yet complete. AVB was effectively beginning his Spurs stint with one arm tied behind his back.

For Tottenham's summer transfer activity left the squad in a state of flux as the new season began. Despite signing Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen early on, that was it before the season kicked off.

Striker Emmanuel Adebayor was still officially a Manchester City player on August 18, as dragged out negotiations meant he did not sign for Spurs until August 21.

Had the striker been able to wrap up a move early on and spend a pre-season with the squad then who knows if there may have been an upturn in fortunes over the first few matches.

But the bigger issue was Luka Modric, a sale to Real Madrid which chairman Daniel Levy did not sign off until August 27, at which point the club had a paltry one point from a possible six.

Only then could Spurs look at spending the money on transfer targets, but with just four days left of the transfer window they were limited in their options.

Hugo Lloris was signed, but a typically last minute move for Joao Moutinho fell through, and fans were hardly enthused by a last hour deadline day move for Clint Dempsey, which felt like almost an apology to supporters.

Looking what a huge transitional period the first few weeks of the season were, it's no surprise Spurs had such a bad start and dropped points, for the way Daniel Levy conducted his business was no way to help a new manager achieve the very difficult goal of finishing in the top four.

AVB led calls back then for the transfer window to shut before the season starts, and you can see why, but other clubs more wisely simply completed their transfer business before it kicked off anyway.

It was said at the time that the early dropped points could be crucial, and sadly for Spurs, they proved so. Now the club simply have to make sure they learn from their errors and do not repeat them.

Did last summer's slow business cost Spurs this season? 

image: © Doha Stadium Plus

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