After an agonisingly long wait for a return to Champions League football, Tottenham Hotspur crashed out of the competition on Tuesday night with defeat to Monaco. Here are five things that must change before Spurs can compete with Europe's elite.
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1) Learn how to adapt
Although Tuesday night's performance is fresh in the memory, it's fair to say Spurs have lost out in the Champions League on 'home soil' this term rather than in their away performances. In two matches at Wembley Stadium, their temporary home in this competition and in all competitions next term, the Lilywhites have turned in two quite frankly unacceptable performances.
Some have blamed the lack of atmosphere at the ground and some have blamed the more expansive pitch, whereas others have claimed the opposition raised their game for their trips to Wembley. Whatever the actual reason behind it, you have to wonder if other clubs would've struggled in this manner simply with a switch to a different ground. They were still backed by a huge home support and should've performed better in these games.
2) Sort out the attacking options
Spurs fans were no doubt excited to see what calibre of player would join the club this summer following the long-awaited return of Champions League football and the two attack minded players that arrived at the club have been very poor so far. It's also worth noting that neither Vincent Janssen nor Moussa Sissoko had any experience in the competition.
Vincent Janssen has not been good enough so far for Spurs (Getty Images)
Surely bringing in players with knowledge of UCL football should've been key for Pochettino given his squad was largely made up of youngsters with little European experience anyway. Regardless of that, both players have been below-par in all competitions this season and arguably represent the two biggest mistakes that the Argentine boss has made at Spurs.
3) Play the best XI in key matches
Tuesday's defeat becomes all the more baffling when you study some of the decisions made by Pochettino with regards to the starting line-up. The Argentine boss chose to leave creative force Christian Eriksen on the bench along with Kyle Walker and the in-form Jan Vertonghen, all the more baffling when you consider that usual CB partner Toby Alderweireld was out injured.
The inexperienced Harry Winks was favoured to Eriksen whilst Eric Dier was played at centre-back with Kevin Wimmer, who has had little football this season. Quite frankly, the team selection on Tuesday was mind-boggling and not for the first time and this could be either because Pochettino has less strength in depth than he'd like, or he simply doesn't know his best XI. Either way, it's worry for Spurs fans.
4) Find some consistency and stability
Across North London Tottenham's arch rivals Arsenal may be mocked at times for their inability to win the Champions League, or indeed the Premier League in the last 12 years, but they do qualify for the competition on a regular basis. Perhaps this is why they can attract bigger name and more proven quality to the club, despite their lack of honours at times.
The consistency of finishing top four on a regular basis under the same manager without many full overhauls of the squad cannot be under-estimated. Of course, Arsenal will also be able to pay their players bigger wages than their neighbours. Perhaps it's time Spurs also had a look at breaking their restrictive wage structure to not only bring in more quality players, but to also keep hold of the few they have.
5) Stop being so Spursy!
The Twitter generation of football fans have coined the term 'Spursy' meaning a team of bottlers, essentially. It's been the story of Tottenham for so long now, playing attractive football but failing to live up to the hype when it comes to crunch time in cup finals, potential title races and big European ties and they continue to fulfil the prophecy even now.
Last year's spectacular collapse in the title race which included a final day defeat to Newcastle that allowed Arsenal to finish above them once again was perhaps the pinnacle of Spursy. The club have to find a way to shake off the tag and become ruthless in key matches going forward. Maybe adding some silverware in the shape of the FA Cup or Europa League could help here - but that's far easier said than done.