Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has been told recent results are not up to the standard required after another trophy avenue was shut down following a 2-0 exit at Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup.
Spurs are trophyless since their 2008 success in the competition and many viewed it as their best route to success this time around. However, second-half goals from Renan Lodi and Jesse Lingard dumped them out of the competition.
As well as seeing their trophy chances reduced, it’s also the fifth match in a row that Spurs have fallen 2-0 behind. Clearly that is not good enough for a club with such lofty ambitions.
And with Jamie Carragher recently pointing out those players who are not good enough, pressure is beginning to mount.
After the game, Conte produced a mountain of excuses, even admitting that ‘something is wrong with his players’.
Either way, talkSPORT pundit and former Spurs player Jamie O’Hara claims the current situation cannot be allowed to escalate.
And in a warning shot at Conte – a man he is still backing – he insists they must be doing better in games like Wednesday night if the pressure is not to mount on his shoulders.
“I don’t know what to say. Tottenham tonight, what is going on? This can’t continue,” he said.
“I’ve been a massive fan of Conte. And I’m still a big fan of him but the way that we’re playing, the way that we’re going about games and the constantly going 1-0 down or 2-0 down.
“The first half performances are absolutely miles off. I don’t know how I can keep saying ‘back him’ because eventually I’m going to look like the idiot.”
Conte told Forest defeat will raise sack talk
O’Hara continued: “Right now I keep saying you’ve got to back him, he’ll win us a competition, win us a trophy, but we’re out of the Carabao Cup to Nottingham Forest. It’s not good enough.
“If we scrape into the top four, great. Champions League football, well done, but we want a trophy. That tonight is a massive chance to get into the last 16 of a competition where Arsenal have gone out, Chelsea have gone out. Big teams have gone out and you’d be thinking we’ve got a chance and then you get beaten by Nottingham Forest.
“No disrespect, they’re a Premier League team and a decent side, but come on. When you’ve got players like Harry Kane in your side you’ve got to win those games.”
Highlighting what Tottenham fans expect, O’Hara feels the result will do little to inspire confidence in the coach.
“You’ve got to set the standard and the standards at Tottenham are falling off a cliff. I don’t know what the answer is.”
Harry Kane tiredness issue
Spurs surprisingly called Harry Kane into action for the game, but he, alongside many of his teammates, looked off the pace.
Kane has barely missed a minute’s action for Tottenham this season with the World Cup just around the corner.
However, Conte admits the England captain is looking tired, which is not great news for Gareth Southgate’s prospects.
Discussing Kane after the match, Conte said: “Other players maybe they could tell me, ‘I’m tired and don’t want to play and help the team’.
“When I speak, I have a group of players who are men and then good players, and because of this. Another could be selfish and think for himself because in one week they have to play the World Cup.
“Instead, Harry Kane showed to be a really good man. But the same for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur and Ivan Perisic and Eric Dier. These are other players, who played a lot of games.”
Questioned again about Kane, and asked if there was an injury problem, Conte came back with a worrying reply.
“No, it was a problem of tiredness.
“Really, really tired and yesterday we had a soft training session. At one point he stopped himself to recover energy. But he’s okay, it’s only fatigue but it’s normal because Harry played every game.
“When you have a player like him it’s difficult to decide you don’t play with him.
“In this situation, also if I wanted to start with another player it was impossible because of injuries to Richarlison, Kulu [Dejan Kulusevski] and Lucas Moura, from the start of the season.”
With just 11 days until England’s World Cup opener against Iran, news of Kane’s fatigue is a major worry.
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