Clive Allen has given a honest verdict to the Tottenham side that lost 2-1 with a last minute NS Mura goal on Thursday, with one game remaining in their Europa Conference League group.
Antonio Conte has had four games in charge of Spurs so far with a draw and a win in the Premier League and one win and a defeat in the European competition.
All season the Conference League has given fringe players a chance to prove why they deserve a place in the regular XI but none have really proven themselves worthy in this campaign.
The Italian made nine changes to the line-up that beat Leeds, with Oliver Skipp returning after suspension and Harry Kane and Japhet Tanganga remaining in the starting XI.
It was almost like an audition for eight of Conte’s players and not one of them stood out, with many of them having poor performances.
The 52-year-old has only been in north London for a few weeks and it will take time for him to improve players and transform the Tottenham team into a side of success.
However, in a game where you would expect players to have the motivation to put 100 per cent into the match and do everything they can to not only impress their manager but also help their side get a win, it was a display far from that.
Former Lilywhites player Allen, gave his verdict of Thursday’s performance on talkSPORT on Friday morning.
“It was Spurs reserve team that played,” he said. “It was lacklustre, they were inefficient, there was a lack of aggression.
“Everything was wrong, so much of it. The defensive display, the way they closed down, the quality of passing, the number of chances they created against a team they should be beating.
“When a new manager comes in, there’s a little uplift in atmosphere within the club and if you haven’t been a regular starter you want to make your mark in the new manager’s mind. Last night [Thursday] there were too many of them that I think have put themselves way way down the pecking order,” Allen added.
Although the regular XI haven’t been perfect, there has already been slight improvements and their draw and win under Conte in the league so far are an indication of this.
However, it is the fringe players who are expected to turn up and prove themselves in games like the one in Slovenia that are showing major improvements need to be made – especially when they can’t get a result against the lowest ranked side in the Conference League.
“He can’t trust in a number of those players to play in the Premier League games that are coming up,” the 60-year-old admitted. “They’ve put themselves in a very, very difficult position in terms of having any argument with the manager to say ‘I should be starting in those big games’.”
“It’s almost like they don’t want to be there which is an absolutely crazy situation. I’m not saying that they’re not trying but there’s something in that attitude at the moment that is very very poor and subsequently the performances have been absolutely horrendous.
Fans have already been calling for new players to be brought in and some current players to move away from the north London club and those thoughts will only get louder if players don’t step up.
Conte has about five weeks to work with his current squad before making decisions about who he deems worthy of a place in his Spurs team.
It will then be down to Daniel Levy and Fabio Paratici to put trust in the Italian and make the incomings and outgoings that need doing, happen.
The 52-year-old has already spoken about the challenge must go through to improve this Tottenham side.
“I start from behind, but I have the experience and maturity to face this difficult challenge and yes winning will be more beautiful,” he said in an interview with Italian media.
“President [Daniel] Levy has shown that he wanted me at all costs. In his words and in the investments made, I perceived a vision: the desire to excel.
“I said to myself ‘if we combine this ability off the pitch with what I can give on the pitch, we can really set up a serious and profound job’. Grow and compete with other big English clubs,” Conte added.
The Lilywhites boss seems positive in changes he wants to make at his new club.
“I want to improve them all [at Spurs]. They are young, they have margins, they follow me and they want to learn,” the ex-Chelsea boss explained.
A number of players have already received criticism so far this season and players like Dele Alli and Matt Doherty, who got a chance with match minutes on Thursday, are only proving critics right.
Conte will learn a lot about all of his squad players in the run up to the January transfer window and if those fringe players, when given the chance, don’t perform to the standard expected of them, it will give Paratici a lot to think about in the window at the beginning of 2022.
For now, the Italian will have to focus on getting results from the upcoming games, which starts with a trip to Turf Moor to face Burnley in the Premier League.
Source by Football London