Could Tottenham's lack of experience cost Mauricio Pochettino's quest for Premier League glory?by Andy Dillon / 03 March 2016, 12:44Tweet
Tottenham missed out on the chance to go top of the Premier League after losing 1-0 to rivals West Ham at Upton Park. In his latest feature, The Sun's Andy Dillon (@andydillon70) condemn's Mauricio Pochettino's post match excuses for the disappointing defeat, while questioning whether a youthful Spurs side have the necessary experience to go on and win the title for the first time since 1960/61.
IT'S A tired old line but one that lots of crafty managers use to get off the hook when things go a bit wrong.
But how disappointing to hear Mauricio Pochettino attempt to excuse Tottenham's terrible performance at West Ham by claiming his players are a bit knackered.
Can be a bit exhausting all this title-chasing eh?
Only it didn't seem to come up before Spurs were so comprehensively done over at Upton Park on Wednesday, when Poch had the chance to go top of the Premier League within touching distance.
All the chat then was how the most talked-about Tottenham team since the 1961 Double winners were made favourites to be champions for the first time this season.
It was how the Spurs 'family' all have to shake hands before training every day to promote team bonding and camaraderie.
They were so busy back slapping and glad-handing at Spurs Lodge that Pochettino must have forgotten to tell them how to deal with a team that is bursting with energy despite punching way above its weight pushing for its highest ever Premier League finish and in the FA Cup quarter finals.
Pochettino wailed that his team has come through a 'busy period' and then did that other old trick of adding: 'but no excuses.'
Which of course in football jargon means it is exactly that.
Let's examine this recent 'busy period' for Tottenham.
Since a week ago last Sunday they have played four games that is true. A home game in the FA Cup against a Crystal Palace side which only has to turn up to get beat at the moment.
Four days later a home game in the Europa League against Fiorentina - defending a precious away goal. No slip ups lads and you're home and hosed into the last 16.
Last Sunday they hosted Swansea in the Premier League and then a trip to West Ham three days later.
All in all, three home games and a trip of say, five miles maximum, to Upton Park in East London.
Five miles in London in rush hour can take two hours of course but aboard the Spurs battle it's hardly the same as being cramped up on a National Express is it?
Pochettino was also able to rest four of those players who had played against Swansea. Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Heung-Min Son all on the bench.
As too was Dele Alli who was struggling with a minor knock.
That's just over a third of his team rotated in one fell swoop for a local derby. Should be plenty of fresh legs in there.
The truth is that Tottenham did not have tired legs they had shattered minds. The big chance to go top of the table was laying tantalisingly in front of them and their heads went.
That's understandable with Pochettino trying to win the most competitive league in world football with the youngest squad. They are relative boys.
And maybe that's where Pochettino comes in. Rather than blame playing matches maybe the issue is that the manager has not quite constructed a squad capable of going the distance?
For example, Manchester United won their incredible treble in 1999 after playing 78 matches.
Spurs will play a maximum of 68 even if they go all the way to the Europa League final this season. That's ten less.
Tiredness is simply not allowed if you want to win the serious stuff in football. It must be incredibly draining but that's why it is so difficult to win.
Instead of his young and undoubtedly talented and committed players being tired, maybe it is Pochettino who nodded off at just the wrong time and hasn't got the one or two experienced heads he may need to steer the kids through to the end.
The players who have done it before and keep the troops up and pumping with timely pep talks and advice instead of shaking hands at the training ground.