Nuno Espirito Santo has a difficult time in Tottenham, but it is difficult to see how his term will work
Despite firing 14 of them in the Premier League era, Tottenham’s managerial choices, at least from the start, have had a certain level of optimism to get excited about.
There have been exceptions, of course. Christian Gross seemed doomed even before he made a game after awkwardly showing a London Underground ticket in his 1997 presentation and declaring it “hopefully the ticket to his dreams.” He left a year later.
It might even be unfair to use that as a club to hit him, but the point is largely how his time at White Hart Lane is remembered. Now a similar problem has arisen with Nuno Espirito Santo.
Nuno Espirito Santo is off to a rocky start at Tottenham after arriving over the summer
Like Nuno, Christian Gross also made a bad impression on fans when he took office in 1997.
From the beginning, it already seemed to be a panic date (more on that later) and when it was announced days before preseason, he made a huge promise that he has not been able to keep.
His message to Spurs fans, fed up with their team’s rapid decline in three years, was: ‘My promise is to you, we are going to make you proud, we are going to make you proud.’
He said it twice for emphasis, but other than hope and perhaps a response to a new face, there was very little to get excited about. Another summer of disappointing signings was compounded this time by star forward Harry Kane who wanted to leave the club.
With years of gruesome scouts, minimal spending on transfers, a stale squad in decline, and still no closer to winning anything, the Spurs aren’t exactly an easy job to do. It may even be the toughest in the Premier League right now in terms of expectations to reach the top four with the resources available.
Nuno entered the Spurs at the end of June with a promise to ‘make the fans proud’
Spurs also started well with Son Heung-min’s goal that gave them an opening day win over Premier League champions Manchester City.
So Nuno has it tough, extremely tough, but his promise to make fans proud is almost now a weekly auction.
Admittedly, he started off pretty well with an opening day win over champions Manchester City, but even two more 1-0 wins over Wolves and Watford to help Nuno win the Premier League manager of the month and lead the Spurs to the top did not fool anyone. The Spurs managed and did the bare minimum.
Reality struck in September after the international break with three London derbies and three humiliating defeats, with Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal beating the Spurs by three. The only answer was Son Heung-min taking comfort in the Emirates.
The loss at Arsenal had Nuno’s tactics ripped apart by the shameful nature of hit and long ball hope, which, as Jamie Carragher pointed out on Monday Night Football the following day, had the Spurs in trouble less than 10 seconds later. that the game began with the total abandonment of a midfield.
The victories against the poor teams of Aston Villa and Newcastle brought a faint hope that boring football would evolve into something akin to an attacking style. Nuno seemed to have succeeded in leaving Dele Alli for Tanguy Ndombele at 4-2-3-1 and it is one of the few calls he has made that has pleased fans.
But it’s been almost downhill since then, including a disastrous 3-1 derby loss at Arsenal.
The Spurs have already lost four London derbies this season, including Sunday at West Ham.
But another London derby in West Ham, where the Spurs barely disturbed the Hammers’ goal, has once again left fans in their arms, especially when Nuno insisted that the Spurs “had controlled the game.”
The loss hurt even more, considering that the largely lifeless performance of the supposed first team came just days after everyone rested for the Conference League loss at Vitesse Arnhem.
Ah, the Conference League, the competition that has been mocked by many for its lack of recognizable names, let alone one with a strong European pedigree.
Tottenham, who recall having won just one 2008 League Cup in more than 20 years, are even favorites. However, they haven’t been able to win any of their three away games so far, only defeating the Mura group minnows at home (yes, even the Conference League has cannon fodder) after having to send Harry out. Kane given the difficulties of the second XI.
The only laughingstock in the competition so far is Tottenham, who are now in slight danger of not making it out of the group stage as favorites. And this is a team with supposed aspirations to return to the Champions League (let’s not start with the European Super League either).
The Carabao Cup midweek victory over Burnley put an end to Tottenham’s miserable form, but did not get the fans excited for what is now a crucial must-win match for both sides against Manchester United.
Even in the Europa Conference League, Tottenham’s second team have struggled
Spurs appear to have gotten worse even since José Mourinho’s rocky reign came to an end in April.
Tottenham’s poor squad, especially beyond the starting eleven, is not Nuno’s fault, but seeing what should still be high-quality footballers struggling to string together a few passes indicates an alarming lack of understanding of what Tottenham are trying to do. on the field, because it certainly doesn’t seem like scoring is a priority.
It is definitely not entertaining. It’s downright boring at times and way worse than when José Mourinho was in charge, whose team at least had the common courtesy of taking an early lead, even if the rest of the match turned into a betting syndicate of guessing how late the tie of the opposition.
Hopes for Nuno to turn things around are already fading fast, even if his first nine games have produced better results than the equivalent of Mauricio Pochettino in 2014; in fact, four points better.
The problem is, Pochettino’s team was already playing better football and had shown glimpses of the top four regulars they would later become.
An excellent pressure performance at Arsenal saw them unlucky to only get a 1-1 draw, and that’s night and day for them to be given a 3-1 hideout without even a whisper. Pochettino’s team and the planned reconstruction had something to hold on to, Nuno’s side has nothing.
Nuno’s results in his first nine games have been better than Mauricio Pochettino’s, but the Argentine’s first days at Spurs brought much more hope and optimism to improve.
Harry Kane’s form has slumped under Nuno with just one Premier League goal this season
Harry Kane may not be at his best this period, but he has gone from being the top scorer and assist creator in the league to an anonymous figure overnight. Manchester City’s transfer ties may have hampered him a bit, but not to the point that he only has one league goal heading into November. Nuno’s defensive tactics are underutilizing him.
Unfortunately for Nuno, he does not seem to have the support of the fans who have been disappointed by his appointment after a summer that began with the talks of Antonio Conte or the return of Pochettino to the bench.
Given that his last season with the Wolves was little more than a wet squib, he is unfortunately the symbol of a club that shows no ambition to compete for trophies or even at this stage try to secure a top-four result.
Tottenham fans will accept that it’s not by far the biggest problem at the club, that’s another issue entirely, but sadly it’s not showing anything that makes it part of the solution either.
In the desperate hope that a manager can break Tottenham’s long streak of trophy-free seasons, sadly all Nuno has shown so far are broken promises.