October 9, 2019

Olympiakos 2-2 Tottenham: No signs of Spurs taking next step – Matthew Upson

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From Matthew Upson
BBC Radio 5 live at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium
I looked for some signs from Olympiakos because reaching last season’s Champions League final that Tottenham have progressed as a team, but I did not actually find any.
Spurs will be delighted to have a point from an eventful 2-2 draw however, although they averted defeat, it was not the type of performance that is written their supervisor Mauricio Pochettino will have wanted to watch.
Their run in this contest last year relied on last-minute goals and play, directly from the start when they dragged themselves out of grief after it seemed like they’d be going out in the group phase.
It was a brilliant accomplishment, but it’s definitely better to prevent being on the brink in the first place by making your pathway a bit more easy, and they did not handle this here.
Yes, this was a catchy way to allow them with an Olympiakos side that has been full and dangerous of attacking intent, also a hostile home crowd, along with the heat in Piraeus.
But the best Champions League teams are able to bargain with this kind of scenario by playing to take the bite out of the opposition and keeping ownership and silence the crowd.
For a variety of reasons, Spurs never did any of the well enough on Wednesday.
I think the absence of control they had right throughout the game is exactly what Pochettino would be disappointed about, because having that is another step that he understands they must take if they’re likely to have sustained achievement in Europe.
Tottenham made life difficult for themselves , Even though me impressed.
It was disappointing to learn they had been at the opening minutes, when there were just two or three occasions where they handed the ball away cheaply.
But even though they lacked urgency and seemed lethargic, Spurs reminded us that they’ve lots of quality on their own side.
One of the reasons they ended up becoming much in the Champions League last season was when they got an opportunity, they were able to take it.
This was the same against Olympiakos, also in the first stages Tottenham’s outstanding finishing was the sole difference between the two teams.
Their opening goal came from a penalty but the spot-kick of Harry Kane was still delightful, and the strike of Lucas Moura a few minutes later was world class.
In 2-0 up after 30 minutes, Spurs had completed the hard part but they still could not find a means to stop Olympiakos from applying pressure.
They could have done that by simply keeping hold of the ball but it only felt like too many Tottenham players have been below their levels as well as when that occurs, you are not going to acquire the very best team performance either.
Pochettino made five changes in last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace, and there were. It showed.
Tanguy Ndombele ben Davies and Dele Alli all fought to impose themselves on the match, Davinson Sanchez didn’t click in right-back, and it’s rare to visit Christian Eriksen give the ball away as often as he did.
I am not sure that has been down to individual physical fatigue, either. It had been more of a mental sharpness that Spurs lacked, which led to mistakes.
It might have been worse – generally, like they did at a place like this from the Champions League if you perform, you wind up being beaten.
Olympiakos let them off the hook after they took Mathieu Valbuena off with 20 minutes to go, since he was their main danger man. Without him, they didn’t carry the same threat.
The absolute most crucial thing for Spurs was they did not shed.
As remarkable as Olympiakos had been, after this particular result I would back Spurs to finish in Group B them above Red Star Belgrade and then make it through to the past 16 and Bayern Munich.
Red Star defeat Liverpool in Serbia last year, and the trip of Tottenham there in November will offer a challenging evaluation, similar in several ways to the one that they faced in Greece.
But I am anticipating Spurs’ house form to view through them, and I also think they will improve as the year goes on.
As the Olympiakos game was said before by Pochettino they are still building momentum and locating – we all know that they could play better than that.
Matthew Upson spoke to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
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