Five things learned from Spurs' Europa League loss against Benfica

White Hart Lane 4

A disappointing home defeat to Benfica left Tottenham smarting ahead of the North London derby, and left plenty of questions for their under pressure boss.

The lack of threat down the left remains a problem

Spurs brought in two players that can play wide left after Gareth Bale departed for Spain, while welcoming back natural left winger Andros Townsend to the club. That none of them have seized that position only highlights just how superb a player the Welshman was, and why replacing him was no easy task. The problem is exacerbated by the fact the left-back spot has also been a source of problems, and the fact that area wasn't reinforced over the last few transfer windows remains a mystery. The lack of balance on the wings continue to haunt Tottenham.

Was benching him for two games the best way to reward Soldado for his goal against Cardiff?

The relief on Roberto Soldado's face after scoring the winner at home to Cardiff a little under two weeks ago was plain to see, and the player's and fan's reactions also enforced the idea that maybe the Spaniard had turned the corner. However, by benching him against Chelsea, and especially in the Europa League game with Benfica, Sherwood has basically reminded Soldado that he is on the fringes of the starting line-up, and even if he selects him against Arsenal on Sunday, any progress the former Valencia forward may have made is likely to have rescinded once more.

The central midfield areas were lacking invention against a well drilled outfit

With four players operating in central midfield areas against Benfica in Sandro, Paulinho, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane, it was alarming there was so little creativity on display. Eriksen, the most natural maestro of the four, was pushed out wide to accommodate Kane in a strange move, with natural wingers such as Townsend and Chadli left on the bench. Both Sandro and Paulinho are good players, but lack the ability to pick a pass, and until someone can do so from a settled central position, this Spurs side may continue to struggle.

Spurs look like a side in dire need of rebuilding

There has been such little development throughout this Tottenham side over the season. Players continue to look as if they've only just been brought together. Defence, midfield and attack have all failed to improve with partnerships failing to develop and basic errors continuing to be made. Despite being a squad of undeniably talented players, neither Sherwood or Andre Villas-Boas have managed to mould this group into a team, and it is very likely that it could fall to another manager to try his hand at the rebuilding process, sooner rather than later.

Is this Tottenham team better off under Sherwood than they were under AVB?

Recent capitulations in key Premier League games, coupled with flat performances that lacked attacking threat, harked back to some of the tougher days of Villas-Boas' reign. For all of Sherwood's obvious passion and desire to do well, he hasn't managed to bring the attacking football he promised, and much like his predecessor, he doesn't appear to know his best eleven. Aside from bringing Emmanuel Adebayor into the side, it is hard to believe the team is much improved from the AVB days.  

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