Gareth Bale has lost his appetite, Hugo Lloris is NOT captain fantastic and Harry Winks is flattering to deceive… after Rio Ferdinand claimed individual errors are ‘killing’ Spurs, these are the underperforming stars letting Jose Mourinho down
- Tottenham ended up on the wrong side of a 5-4 FA Cup thriller with Everton
- But the dramatic nine-goal classic was Spurs’ fourth defeat from five games
- Jose Mourinho has come under increasing pressure over his side’s form recently
- But recent performances have shown that some players have let him down
- Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the main culprits for Tottenham’s recent demise
When it rains, it pours. And at Tottenham, there’s severe flood warnings.
On a bitter Wednesday night at Goodison Park, Spurs were involved in an FA Cup classic for the ages as they slogged it out with Everton to produce a nine-goal thriller.
Unfortunately for Jose Mourinho and his men, they ended up on the losing side having fought back twice from losing positions before shipping a fifth in extra time.
The 5-4 scoreline gives huge cause for concern, especially when you look at the bigger picture for Spurs.
Tottenham were dumped out of the FA Cup in spectacular fashion by Everton on Wednesday
After Spurs broke the deadlock inside three minutes through a towering Davinson Sanchez header, Everton responded with two quick-fire goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison following some poor defending from the visitors to completely flip the game on its head.
It was a sign of things to come with ex-Spurs man Gylfi Sigurdsson converting a penalty to give the Toffees a commanding two-goal cushion just minutes before half-time.
However, the fifth-round tie was blown wide open again after Erik Lamela capitalised on some suspect Yerry Mina defending to make it 3-2 in first half stoppage time and claw Spurs back into the game.
Everton’s two-goal deficit was then wiped out thanks to a second Sanchez goal before Richarlison got a second of his own, leaving Harry Kane to come on, once again, and clean up the mess made by his team-mates.
Everton forward Bernard scored his side’s fifth goal to win it for the Toffees in extra time
It saw Everton win the nine-goal thriller and heap more pressure on a struggling Spurs side
With the game delicately poised at 4-4, there was one more defensive blunder to come from Spurs, which would allow Bernard to sneak in round the back of the defence and fire past a helpless Hugo Lloris and put the final nail in the coffin for Tottenham.
It means it’s four defeats in five games for Spurs, with Mourinho taking the brunt of the criticism given Spurs are realistically now only competing on two fronts for silverware this season.
Three league defeats in a row to Liverpool, Brighton and Chelsea have all but ended Tottenham’s title hopes, while a 2-0 win on Sunday somewhat lifted the mood – even if it was against relegation-threatened West Brom.
However, the gloom and doom is back at White Hart Lane following their dramatic FA Cup exit and now the fingers are being pointed at who’s to blame. The Special One has been accused of being not so special anymore, with his overly-defensive tactics proving to be difficult to watch.
Questions have also been asked as to why Dele Alli and Gareth Bale continue to be omitted from matchday squads, while Mourinho even refused to give an answer when asked about the Welshman’s omission against Chelsea.
While he may not be willing to discuss the broken record of Bale’s involvement, Mourinho has responded to those who criticise his overly-defensive football by giving them attractive attacking displays against the Baggies and the Toffees, but the latter may have proved his point.
Jose Mourinho claimed individual mistakes were Tottenham’s downfall once again
Individual errors at Goodison completely let him down on what was a strong offensive performance from Spurs, who dominated the ball and were made to rue the goalkeeping heroics of Robin Olsen in net.
Mourinho himself acknowledged the errors were Tottenham’s downfall, leaving many to sympathise with the Portuguese boss after the game.
Mourinho said: ‘We had the ball; we created, we had great movement, scored goals.
‘Great character to fight against but goals only win games if you don’t make so many mistakes. We were the best team, winning 1-0; then in five minutes it was mistake, mistake, mistake; goal, goal, goal.’
Rio Ferdinand was in complete agreement, claiming that the individual errors cost Spurs a spot in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The Manchester United legend, who has not shied away from criticising Mourinho in the past, admitted that he ‘felt sorry’ for him after watching a number of players let him down.
‘I actually feel sorry for him [Mourinho] in some ways, because in recent weeks he has changed quite a few times in the way they have approached games,’ Ferdinand told BT Sport.
Rio Ferdinand admitted he ‘felt sorry’ for Mourinho and said many players have let him down
Mourinho goes to console Son Heung-min at the end of the game after Spurs are dumped out
‘West Brom was a bit different but it changed when Harry Kane wasn’t playing for example, and now tonight they were open and expansive. But each and every one of those times recently they are being undone by individual moments and errors.
‘As a manager you can prepare all you like for each game, but these individual errors are killing you, so in that sense I feel sorry for him because sometimes it derails his whole plan that he has worked on all week.’
Asked whether the issue regarding individual mistakes was to do with the quality of players at Mourinho’s disposal, Ferdinand added: ‘It is a quality thing. [There are] too many players consistently making mistakes, and it is leaving them open and making them have to chase games some of the time.
‘Until they get that right and eradicate those type of mistakes, they can never really consider themselves a team that is really going to challenge consistently. Mistakes lead to goals, which leave you chasing and leave you open and that causes problems consistently.’
But now the question remains – which players are at fault for Mourinho’s downfall and who has let him down? Sportsmail takes a look at the main culprits who have been responsible for Tottenham’s poor run of form.
The usually reliable Lloris hasn’t enjoyed the best run of form when Tottenham needed him most.
Against Liverpool in north London, the Frenchman was arguably at fault for the visitors’ opening goal on the stroke of half-time, which completely changed the complexion of the game considering Spurs had held on against a struggling Jurgen Klopp side.
Spurs skipper Hugo Lloris (right) was criticised for failing to keep out Everton’s first goal
His weak save that landed at the feet of Trent Alexander-Arnold for Liverpool’s second didn’t paint him in a good light either, on what was a disappointing night for him.
Fast forward two weeks and it’s on Merseyside where the Spurs skipper is criticised for his hand (or lack of) in Everton’s opener, where he could only palm Calvert-Lewin’s powerful shot into the back of his own net.
The passage of play saw Ferdinand describe his efforts as ‘weak’, with Everton being allowed back into the game at ease.
‘It’s embarrassing, it’s an embarrassment,’ Ferdinand said.
Ferdinand said the Frenchman’s attempted save was ’embarrassing’ and ‘weak’
Dominic Calvert-Lewin hit a powerful shot at Lloris, who could only divert it in off his left hand
‘He has fallen back into his own goal. His arms, like a powder puff effort there. Weak. He will be disappointed I’m sure as well as the Spurs fans and players.
‘Can you blame him for the second goal too? I’m not sure, but the strike through the defender’s legs makes it difficult for the goalkeeper.’
Lloris has kept just eight clean sheets from 28 matches across all competitions so far this season.
Following Serge Aurier’s outburst against Liverpool, that saw the hot-headed Ivorian dropped after leaving the stadium at half-time, you would think it would be the perfect time for Matt Doherty to step up and make the right back spot his own.
But the Irishman hasn’t and is enduring a difficult first season in Tottenham colours following his move from Wolves last summer.
Doherty is more suited to a wing-back role, which he showed at Wolves, and is often found out when asked to help out defensively.
While he’s not a conventional right back, the 29-year-old has failed to show why he deserves a spot in Mourinho’s starting XI and is struggling to replicate the form that earned him a £13million move to Spurs in the first place.
Matt Doherty (left) has struggled since making the move from Wolves to Spurs last summer
Following his sub-par performance against Liverpool, and without Aurier to choose from, Mourinho opted to go with Moussa Sissoko at right back against Brighton in what was a damning statement for Doherty.
Reinstated against Everton, Doherty fell asleep to allow Bernard in to score the winning goal after Sigurdsson’s wonderful chipped through ball caught everyone out.
In the aftermath of the Everton defeat, Mourinho admitted Spurs’ No 2 is suffering from confidence issues and knows he has to improve.
‘We spoke about [making an impact that a few days ago,’ Mourinho said when talking about Doherty. ‘He feels it was a great decision to move here, he’s very happy to be here and admits he’s much better than what he’s showing.
‘Confidence is very important and I believe that he’ll only improve. He’s a player that we trust.’
Eric Dier started the campaign brilliantly for Spurs and was one of the first names on the team sheet while the side flying at the top of the table.
However, a recent drop in form has also seen the England international dropped to the bench.
Mourinho has left Dier out of three of the last four games, following a number of mistakes that have led to goals.
Like Lloris, Dier was at fault for allowing Roberto Firmino to tap in Liverpool’s opener in their 3-1 defeat at home to the champions before he mindlessly brought down Timo Werner in the box to allow Jorginho to score the penalty in a 1-0 win for Chelsea.
Eric Dier has been dropped by Mourinho three times in the last four games after a dip in form
The Spurs defender conceded a penalty against Chelsea for a rash challenge on Timo Werner
And now Mourinho fears the midfielder-turned-defender is now suffering from a ‘crisis of confidence’.
‘I believe that players … they have moments,’ he said. ‘They can be very good, they can be strong personalities, they can be experienced, they can cope with a mistake but in the end players are players, they are men.
‘And they feel more than anyone else these little moments of confidence, of crisis. You can see that in the striker that doesn’t score goals, you can see that in the goalkeeper that makes mistakes and accumulates another one after.
‘You can see that in defenders, you can see that in the midfielder that instead of showing himself all the time, he is hiding behind some shadows on the pitch because he is not so confident to get the ball. But these are moments.
Mourinho fears the England international is suffering a ‘crisis of confidence’ as of late
‘I have to admit that recently, our team makes little important mistakes that are punished in terms of our results. And Eric was there, he was one of them. They feel it.
‘And I believe confidence, that drops a little bit. But great personality, a team guy, as happy as we were when we won on Sunday.
‘A guy that loves it here, a guy that is loved by the team-mates, a guy that I trust, a guy that I consider one of the ones. And he will be back to normality and his normality of course is to play and be solid.’
Arguably the best defender at the club, Toby Alderweireld has rarely painted himself in glory these last few weeks.
Following the departure of Jan Vertonghen last summer, Alderweireld looks lost without his compatriot by his side and ultimately looks past his prime with the Belgium international turning 32 next month.
Alderweireld had a poor performance against the Toffees, which saw Carlo Ancelotti’s men ship five past him and look a threat whenever they attacked.
Toby Alderweireld looks past his prime as he put in an underwhelming display against Everton
Despite being one of the most experienced defenders at the club, Alderweireld looked leggy for Calvert-Lewin’s opener and was nutmegged minutes later when Richarlison made it 2-1.
Alderweireld only won three of eight duels against Everton’s frontmen in what was an alarming performance, given that he is arguably Spurs’ go-to defender with Joe Rodon, Dier and Sanchez the only other options available at the moment.
While Sanchez did chip in with the most unlikeliest of braces, the Colombian was caught out more often than not whenever Everton countered.
His two goals from corners helped keep Spurs in the game against the Toffees but it did little to really mask his defensive display on Wednesday.
Everton looked unstoppable every time they did attack and Sanchez was caught napping for two of the hosts’ goals in the second half.
Davinson Sanchez popped up with two goals against the Toffees on Wednesday evening
After prodding in Spurs’ third goal to make it 3-3, Sanchez allowed Richarlison to run in behind him and finish superbly across the face of Lloris, seeing Spurs take a step back again.
The Colombian then failed to track Bernard’s run in behind for Everton’s winner, leaving him caught out of position once again.
It’s clear Mourinho has a hard time trusting the 24-year-old and his defensive display saw him labelled as the ‘worst player’ by ex-Spurs midfielder Jamie O’Hara.
‘If you go away from home, score four goals but still lose the game, it’s ridiculous,’ O’Hara told talkSPORT.
However, the Colombian was exposed defensively on more than one occasion at the back
‘I love the way Spurs played [to begin with]; they attacked the game and deservedly went 1-0 up. I then went to put the kettle on and came back and we were 3-1 down!
‘It was a great game for the neutral but the defending was shocking. Davinson Sanchez scored two goals for us and he was our worst player!
‘Mourinho will be raging at the defending.’
While he only featured in extra time, Winks was burdened with the majority of backlash from Spurs fans following the game after two notable mistakes left many foaming at the mouth.
Brought on for Tanguy Ndombele to provide fresh legs in midfield, Winks looked off the pace and his heavy touch eventually led to Bernard’s fifth goal – not exactly the impact you want from a substitute.
Then, in the dying minutes, Spurs had a corner and had been threatening to score a third equaliser to send it to penalties.
Harry Winks (right) is flattering to deceive and struggled as a substitute in extra time
Winks is desperate for more minutes but Wednesday’s performance will only harm his chances
With the initial delivery cleared, the ball fell out of the sky straight into Winks’ path, who opted for a spectacular, but extremely difficult, volley at goal rather than taking a touch and recycling the ball outside the box.
It was a poor decision from the club’s academy graduate, who has been desperate for more minutes ahead of this summer’s Euros.
With Ndombele and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg two of Spurs’ mainstays in midfield, Winks has found his chances limited but did manage to put in a man-of-the-match performance against Wycombe in the previous round of the FA Cup.
However, that performance has been an outlier in a season of poor displays and the 25-year-old is seeing his England chances disappear before his very eyes.
Mourinho revealed after the transfer window shut that he had clear-the-air talks with Dele Alli to tell the Spurs outcast that he was ‘needed’ for this final stretch of the season.
The Portuguese boss has often been criticised for his handling of Alli and often has digs at the England star in the media.
Now, after being brought in from the cold and with his PSG move put on ice, Alli was given the chance to prove his worth after being thrown into the mix against the Toffees.
In Alli’s defence, it was his first performance since appearing against Marine a month ago so it can be argued that he lacked match sharpness and wasn’t fully fit.
Dele Alli (left) was brought in from the cold by Mourinho but struggled against the Toffees
However, from what we did see of the 24-year-old, it wasn’t inspiring.
In a game where Everton sat back and defended for the most part, Alli couldn’t provide that little bit of magic when it was needed on Wednesday.
Mourinho described Alli as ‘lazy’ in Tottenham’s All Or Nothing documentary on Amazon and the player hasn’t really recovered since.
Now it’s up to the 24-year-old to prove his manager wrong and take the chance while he still has it.
Spurs fans can be forgiven for feeling disappointed by Bale’s return, considering he has rarely shown why he’s worth his mammoth wages.
But they should’ve seen this coming – and Real Madrid fans gave them fair warning.
The Welshman was left out of the squad to face Everton after the player revealed he wasn’t feeling ‘comfortable’ earlier in the week, leaving a surprised Mourinho to give his spot on the bench to Alli.
Speaking of Bale’s latest setback, Mourinho said: ‘I think it is better for me to say: we played against West Brom on the Sunday and he didn’t play, he was on the bench.
Gareth Bale was not even handed a place on the bench for Tottenham’s latest FA Cup tie
‘Monday I was a bit surprised by him wanting to have a scan because he was not feeling comfortable.
‘He didn’t train on Monday, then on the Tuesday he trained with the team but I was informed his desire would be to work with the sports science for a couple of days to strengthen that area where he was not feeling comfortable.
‘That is the reason why he is not here. I don’t think it is an obvious injury, I would say he feels uncomfortable and because of that training session he couldn’t be 100 per cent.’
Asked whether he felt Bale, who has played just 15 times while on loan from Real Madrid this season, needed to play through the small niggles, Mourinho said: ‘Gareth was not here. I wanted to make it very clear the situation, which I am being completely open and honest about.’
There is a general disappointment at how Bale’s return to the club on loan has progressed
In what is the latest low for Bale since returning to great fanfare last summer, fans are beginning to lose their patience with the former fan favourite and now there is a lack of trust from Mourinho himself.
Sportsmail revealed last week that Tottenham have questioned Bale’s appetite to turn things around and it appears that Daniel Levy won’t be extending his current loan spell for another year.
Just when Spurs needed him most, Bale has gone missing.
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