Spurs face Monaco tonight in a crucial Champions League group stage clash, but will also have one eye on Saturday’s game with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Tottenham have not won there for 26 years, and last season’s 2-2 draw at the Bridge put them out of the title race and mathematically confirmed Leicester as champions. Full back Danny Rose has been speaking about the tumultuous effect that result had on Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who ended up stumbling over the finishing line and handing second place to fierce rivals Arsenal. Spurs were 2-0 up that night but goals from Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard pegged them back, and Pochettino’s side well and truly lost their rag in the last 20 minutes as a mass brawl erupted at the full-time whistle. Rose said:
“The feeling after the Chelsea game last season is one that I never want to feel again.
“There were people upset, crying in the changing room after that game.
“It’s a feeling that we never want to feel again as a football club. I hope everyone has learned from that and we are going to try to push on this season.
“We have worked so hard for years and years to get this opportunity and we know if we don’t win then we are more or less out of the competition.”
Some pundits felt Tottenham’s late-season collapse was due to Pochettino over working the players and burning them out. However, it is pretty clear from Rose’s words that their issue was a mental one after the championship was lost. Spurs were defeated at White Hart Lane by Southampton and then imploded in spectacular fashion on the final day of the season, going down 5-1 to relegated Newcastle at St James Park. There has been little sign of a hangover this season however; the Lilywhites remain unbeaten in the Premier League despite have a few more draws than they would have liked.
Elsewhere, Hugo Lloris is prepared to put his contract negotiations on hold for a few months as we enter a vital period of the season. The France No. 1 would like a deal that would take his earnings to £100,000 per week, but is prepared to wait to sort things out. Daniel Levy has quite a strict wage structure in place at White Hart Lane, with no Spurs player earning more than the £100,000 per week barrier that now considered par for the course because of the new TV deal. Lloris said:
“There are times during a season when as a player you have to think about yourself and there are times when you have to think about the team – and this is one of those times when it is more important to be focused on the team.
“I don’t think this is the right moment to talk about my contract, but I want to repeat my commitment is to the club and there is no rush.”
Finally, Pochettino views tonight’s clash with Monaco as a must win game for Spurs. ‘Home’ defeats to Bayer Leverkusen and the Ligue 1 side have left Tottenham with plenty to do if they are to qualify for the last sixteen. Monaco have lost just two of their last 19 Champions League games at the Louis-II Stadium, so the visitors will need to be at their very best to get the desired result. The Spurs boss said:
“Monaco are a very good team and there’s more than 90 minutes to play. It doesn’t mean we take more or less risks.
“We try to be clever and follow the play, that’s our challenge. It’s all about balance, not about taking risks or not taking risks. We need to be clever. It is impossible to win the game after five minutes.”
Featured image: All rights reserved by Kieran Clarke