Match: Thursday 28th November 2013.
Result: Tromsø 0-2 Tottenham.
Tottenham goals: OG Caucevic 63′, Mousa Dembele 76′.
A good result, in extremely difficult conditions with the snow, we confirm our place at the top of group K ahead of Anzhi, Sheriff and Tromsø with one game to spare. Job done. Youngsters to play against Anzhi now. Frustration once again in the first half, we created minimal chances and couldn’t find the net, while being shaky in possession and at the back, giving a way too many chances to the Norwegian outfit. The conditions weren’t good, far from it, but the performance has to be better against a team that were relegated from the Norwegian League earlier this month. After the break, it continued to be very difficult for us to break down what was an organised Tromsø side at the back, Soldado being isolated again, not getting the crosses or passes he deserved, although his movement and desire must improve, got to be more active. In the 63rd minute, we finally broke the deadlock through a Sigurdsson free kick that was drilled into the mixer, and at first glance looked to be tucked in by Vlad Chiriches, but in fact it was an own goal from Caucevic that gave us the lead, and that spurred us on to victory in the end. Some great link up play with Sigurdsson and Dembele 12 minutes later put Mousa through and he finished the chance expertly to put us 2-0 up, and secure the points, his first goal of the season and his third in a Spurs shirt.
The players need to play better than this if we want to avoid another 6-0 thrashing by the other team in Manchester on Sunday, that’s for sure. Even if this wasn’t our first 11, the players out there are more than capable to play better than what they showed in Norway, Soldado needs to be more lively, stop complaining, take the gloves off and make some bloody runs, while his suppliers need to get the ball into the box, I don’t know whether AVB is telling them to cut in, or they just don’t have the confidence in themselves, but it’s frustrating and it is costing us dearly. Our problems are offensively, defensively we can cope, and in midfield we keep possession well and move the ball around, but it’s not enough, we need more penetration and a player that can make things happen *Bale*, the players need to step up and make themselves that player, whether that is Lamela or Townsend I don’t care, they need to be much more influential. Our best player was Mousa Dembele, my man of the match as he kept the ball well and moved it quickly to people who can make things happen; in the end, he took things into his own hands and scored a brilliant goal, while coming close to a second also. Hopefully Mousa starts against Manchester United on Sunday. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Vlad Chiriches were also good, with Gylfi getting two good assists and Vlad being solid in defence alongside an unsteady Michael Dawson.
Although it was poor, we are through, we did get a clean sheet and we’re winners of group K, winning every game. Can’t complain too much. Our next game is a big’un, Manchester United, the Champions, at White Hart Lane on Sunday 1st December, we need to bounce back, a win is important, a performance is even bigger. Our next Europa League game is our last in Group K, against Anzhi on Thursday 12th December. COYS!!
My player ratings for the team that faced Tromsø at the Alfhiem Stadion:
Friedel – 7 – Solid when called upon, and a clean sheet, couldn’t ask for more.
Naughton – 3 – Honestly don’t understand how Kyle became a professional, not good at all.
Dawson – 4 – Expect more from the big man, very slow, clumsy and couldn’t deal with Tromsø, which doesn’t make for good reading.
Chiriches – 7 – Good performance, made things happen from the back, and some good defensive play.
Fryers – 6 – Just come back from injury, decent performance, always improving.
Capoue – 6 – Sloppy at times, but good to have him back as an option after his good start to his career.
Dembele – 8 – Man of the Match. Good performance, on the ball very comfortable, great goal too.
Townsend – 7 – Made some chances and took a few shots, one of our Beter players for sure.
Sigurdsson – 7 – Two assists and worked very hard, good to see him in the centre for once!
Chadli – 5 – Feel for Nacer, made some openings but didn’t look confident going past players, just come back from injury though.
Soldado – 4 – Needs to be more active, make more runs and score some goals. Come on Bobby!!
Match highlights of our 2-0 win over Tromsø: