Both Spurs and Newcastle will have taken valuable lessons from the Magpies’ 2-1 victory at White Hart Lane, with the hosts suffering just their second loss of the campaign, the first coming on the opening day at Manchester United.
While the win provided a much-needed boost for beleaguered Newcastle boss Steve McLaren, Spurs should go away with some positives after a solid first-half performance. Once again however, their finishing left them ruing three points that got away.
Here’s five things we learned:
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1) Spurs must be more ruthless
The Lilywhites will not always be lucky enough to blame their misfortune on Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot, who produced a string of fine saves to deny Harry Kane and then Erik Lamela. As it was last season and even the season before, Spurs are often left looking back on a host of missed chances, and that could cost them the top four. Nacer Chadli shouldn’t be rushed back from injury, but Spurs are in need of his creativity.
2) Steve McLaren does have the backing of his players
McLaren was praised for his initiative after substitute Ayoze Perez hit the winner three minutes into stoppage time. It was not just Perez, however, but the whole Newcastle side that kept fighting and showed the spirit that they have often been accused of lacking this season.
3) The Europa League isn’t necessarily the problem
A familiar pattern has developed in recent years of Spurs playing on a Thursday and losing on a Sunday. The Europa League is undoubtedly a strain on their squad, but Mauricio Pochettino rested seven players for Thursday night’s 4-1 win over Monaco, having already qualified for the knockout stages.
4) Pochettino must work on basic errors at the back
Eric Dier failed to get goal side for Newcastle’s equaliser, and the cross in made it past both Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld. Lloris could have also done better for Perez’s goal. It is not a question of strengthening, as Spurs have the talent available, but must work on strengthening their concentration.
5) Spurs don’t need to panic
The hyper-sensitive contingent of Spurs fans flocked to social media to vent their frustration at the result, but it is just their second loss, and they remain only seven points off the top of the table. If they’d been offered that at the start of the season, the majority of Spurs fans would almost certainly have been happy.
Spurs travel to Southampton next weekend aiming to shrug off the result, while Newcastle could well continue their upturn in fortune against lowly Aston Villa.
Will Spurs make the top four then? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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