Firstly, to those who say “it’s good we went out” – “we can’t fight on all fronts”?
Utter nonsense. The FA Cup has played a very important part in Spurs’ history and it’s 24 years since we last won it. I’d choose this trophy over fourth place, over the Europa League, certainly over the League Cup.
Cruising at 1-0 util the 83rd minute, at home against the team bottom of the Premier League. It was a particularly unpleasant way to go out.
The visceral pain of this last minute exit was only compounded by the news that many of our biggest rivals for the competition had also lost. When was the last time the top three in the Premier League all went out on the same day?
Secondly, to those who would blame Pochettino for fielding a second eleven?
A little unfair. We have had so many games of late that some rotation was inevitable, although there’s an argument to be had over the number of changes.
One of the successes of the first half season of the Pochettino era, is that the Argentine has identified which players he can trust, both in terms of ability and character.
The unfortunate side effect is this has left a large part of the squad as outsiders – the unwanted bi-product of the managerial turnover at White Hart Lane. And, when you’re fighting on four fronts, there comes a time when you have to play them.
The teamsheet read like a list of misfits.
There was Kaboul, still nominally the captain but largely absent from the first team since a supposed bust-up with the boss. His partnership with Fazio just screamed a lack of mobility.
Dembele and Capoue formed one of the most classy but least dynamic central midfield partnerships in recent Spurs history.
Further forward were Paulinho and Soldado, fighting it out for the title of “player most lacking in confidence”. To be fair to them, they weren’t all bad. Soldado won the penalty of course, while Paulinho got in some good positions in the box. Unfortunately his finishing was wayward, otherwise the story of the game could have been very different.
One player it was great to see return, was Erik Lamela. He may be a bit rough around the edges but he has the ability to do the unexpected and a willingness to take people on. His trickery created several openings and he can look forward to a prompt return to action in the league.
Despite the problems, Spurs led this game for more than an hour, courtesy of another Andros Townsend penalty.
It looked like we were in control and would see out a comfortable, if uninspiring win.
The first Leicester goal was a soft one, as Tottenham failed to deal with the aftermath of a corner. The injury time winner was a catastrophe, a weak shot trickling under stand-in keeper, Michel Vorm.
It would be unfair to single out the Dutchman, especially after some impressive saves early in the match, as both Kramaric and Schlupp took advantage of Tottenham’s ponderous centre. Nevertheless, I’d like to see Pochettino break his cup rule and play Lloris in the semi-final on Wednesday.
Tottenham have been on the right side of several close games with late winners and we played better here than in most of those. It was inevitable this would eventually catch up with us, it’s just a shame it came in a cup game, where there’s no second chance.
We still have a lot to look forward to this year – a League Cup semi-final, the Europa League and an outside shot at fourth.
The main lesson is that Tottenham’s overall squad is a long way behind our first eleven. We need to get rid of some of the hangers-on and bring in reinforcements, otherwise a long hard season is going to catch up with us.
Do you think Spurs are better off out of the FA Cup? Should Lloris play on Wednesday? Let me know your opinions in the comments below.