Why Tottenham’s recent decline should come as no surprise

Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur have seemingly lost all desire in the last few weeks.

Earlier in the year, Spurs’ season looked to be ending with success.

There was the League Cup Final and a chance of silverware, and a top four place looked well within their grasp as a number of other teams struggled.

Harry Kane had broken onto the scene and was scoring for fun, whilst the entire first-team were showing the benefits of intense fitness training with a number of late goals and high-pressing performances.

However, recently the form has fallen away, and they have just one win in their last four games - a 4-3 over struggling Leicester - with the last two games against Burnley and Aston Villa being complete un-noteworthy.

It appears as if the Lilywhites season is all-but over, and with little to play for they are happy to coast along until the end of the campaign.

This may be true, but the reality of Spurs’ loss in form can be seen in Mauricio Pochettino’s previous seasons as a manager.

Last year, with Southampton, Pochettino seemed to be leading the Saints to Europe in the first half of the season.

Yet as soon as the last months came around, it appeared as if fatigue hit the playing squad, and they could do little to prevent their slide into eighth place.

It is down to Pochettino’s system, which for so much of the season requires high-pressing and limitless energy. When at peak fitness the players can fulfil their roles perfectly, but now they are struggling as they cannot match their previous performances levels.

This is the same problem that Pochettino’s mentor, Marcelo Bielsa, has always discovered.

Despite Bielsa winning a cult following and a host of personal plaudits, he has not claimed a league trophy since 1998, and his sides are well known to be pace-setters who drop off in the second half of the season.

They cannot keep up the intensity that is required of them, and although Pochettino is less eccentric that Bielsa, the work ethic is still the same.

Maybe next season Spurs will be able to break through this barrier and keep up their impressive form for the entire season, but it is hard to see such a change taking place.

The squad is too small to realistically challenge for a league title, and until Spurs purchase back-up players of a good enough quality to challenge for the first-team, they will always suffer with this late season collapse.

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