Sky Sports’ Gary Neville has warned that the disappointment of losing the North London derby 3-1 to Arsenal could be the least of Tottenham’s problems after a display he called “appalling” during the game.
Spurs were swept away in the Emirates, conceding three goals in 34 minutes to an Arsenal side who had previously scored just twice in five Premier League games this season.
“Arsenal had a much better application to the game, but Tottenham’s game plan looked really basic. It looked like they just wanted to push him forward at all costs, and they were playing aimless balls forward . Spurs’ courage to play, their appetite to get the ball back and move forward was completely different from what it was against Chelsea last week, and Arsenal crushed them. It was a very bad first half. Neville said.
“In the second half you could say that Harry Kane should have scored two or three goals and could have had a penalty. But Harry Kane is not right, there is obviously something wrong with him right now. , he doesn’t seem happy at all.
“It’s a bad day for Nuno and these Tottenham players because their fans will have left the floor thinking there are more issues than just losing 3-1 to Arsenal.”
New Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo took his share of the blame in the defeat admitting his’ game plan was not good ‘but added:’ The decisions were not in line with the game plan “.
When asked if his team hadn’t carried out his instructions, Nuno told Sky Sports: “I wouldn’t say they don’t do what I tell them to do. They couldn’t do it. to do.”
After hearing Nuno’s confession, Neville replied: “Kane, Moura, Son and Dele Alli have been pushing high at Tottenham for years and it seemed to me that they had not responded to the game plan, like if they didn’t believe it – that was my feeling.
“I think the Tottenham players loved Mauricio Pochettino. I think he was innovative, he was forward thinking, proactive, they loved him. These players look at me like they want an urgent Pochettino style coach who plays from behind rather than the one who sits and plays on the counterattack. “
Tottenham bubble bursts after start of flight
Since leading the standings in August, Spurs have lost to Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal – and are now behind the Gunners in the standings despite 20 places separating the two teams less than a month ago.
“The performance in the first half will have been a real concern,” Neville said in commenting on Sunday’s derby. “You have to ask questions beyond football when you see the body language of the players. The real problem is that they got to a Champions League final a few years ago playing exciting and proactive football. were always in the spotlight and it was a group of players who seemed to enjoy it.
“Some of those players are still around now, but over the last couple of years they’ve gotten very basic to watch compared to that. [the Champions League final] team from a few years ago. “
In-game stats have shown Tottenham at the bottom of the table for the distance covered by any Premier League side this season.
“It’s a real worry – to go from where they were, who were one of the toughest teams in the league to the worst. Tottenham cannot be the team with the least running in the league.”
Neville hails Smith Rowe and Saka – but Dele Alli’s decline is a warning
Emile Smith Rowe scored the first goal and created another to win Neville’s man of the match title, but the former England defender’s post-match observations also contained a poignant warning to the Arsenal youngster and his teammate Bukayo Saka.
“Smith Rowe and Saka were a joy,” Neville said. “Everything Tottenham didn’t have, these two had it in abundance.
“But if they want a warning sign they should look at Dele Alli. I had him with England three or four years ago and I would have said he would become one of the best midfielders in pitch that this country produced. He had it all. And now look at him. He was substituted at halftime today and he’s a shadow of who he was in terms of enforcement and work ethic. I said last year that he needs a shock, but he needs to fend for himself, and love him like a child. “
Nuno scathing, but “will not name the individuals”
Spurs boss Nuno has criticized his team’s performance, deducing that some of his players have failed to implement his game plan.
Tottenham tried to stem the tide at halftime by bringing in Oliver Skipp and Emerson Royal for the tormented Japhet Tanganga and the anonymous Dele Alli, but it didn’t work
Nuno told Sky Sports: “The performance was not good. The game plan was not good. The decisions were not good. It was not a good day for us. Definitely not a good day. .
“I’ll be honest. When you have a game plan, you have to make the right decisions in terms of who you want on the pitch to develop that game plan. I won’t name the people who haven’t played the game. good plan but the game plan was not good according to the players who were on the field.
“We weren’t aggressive enough to control Arsenal in midfield. We suffered when we wanted to go in front and we allowed Arsenal to come to us. Bad decisions.”
He added in his post-match press conference: “A lot of things went wrong, starting with the decisions I made. It’s not easy to develop so I’m just asking you a little. respect if I don’t go too far. But the game plan didn’t work. I won’t judge my players in front of you, I refuse to do so. “
“We want to be a faster, stronger, dominant, solid team, we are not that team. First, we get the players back, find them, help them find the right solutions so that they develop the way we want to play better.
“I did not make the right decisions, and I refuse to go much further than that. All I have to say, I will say directly to the players among us. We have to solve the problem.
“We are disappointed because it was a special game for all of us, our fans. We did not meet the standards that our fans deserve every day. So my message is that I promise we will try to fix it. “
Arsenal now travel to Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 5:30 p.m., while Spurs host NS Mura in the Europa Conference League on Thursday at 8 p.m. before hosting Aston Villa in the Premier League at 2 p.m. Sunday .