Tottenham Hotspur suffered a disappointing defeat as their hopes of progressing to the last 16 of the Europa League were left hanging in the balance. A second-half strike from Jeremy Perbet was enough to see Belgian side Gent take a 1-0 victory into the return leg at Wembley Stadium on February 23. Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino had named a strong side for this encounter, but they came off second best on a forgettable evening for the Premier League high-fliers. Spurs are among the favourites to win this season’s Europa League, but they will need to do it the hard way. Here are three things we have learnt from this latest setback, which comes hot on the heels of last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.
Spurs’ goalscoring problems rear their ugly head
Harry Kane has been a revelation for Spurs and spearheaded the attack with real authority. Despite having spent time on the sidelines this season, he has 14 Premier League goals to his name and his telepathic relationship with Dele Alli has been key to their success. But when Kane is not on the scoresheet, Pochettino’s men generally struggle. The England striker fired a blank against Liverpool and was unable to find the net again here, although he did graze the woodwork after half-time. Spurs are currently third in the league but have netted considerably fewer goals than any other team in the top four. They compensate for this by being defensively resolute, but as this result against Gent showed, they lack alternative options up top. Worryingly, they have only scored one goal in their past four matches in all competitions. Summer signing Vincent Jansen has not made an impact and Pochettino will hope these goalscoring issues do not undermine their aspirations in Europe and domestically.