Tottenham remain outside the Premier League top six after their 1-1 draw at home to Watford, and Jamie Carragher believes this cycle is now over for Mauricio Pochettino’s team.
How I explain it is that I think this cycle is over for this Tottenham team – and I love this Tottenham team, and I love this Tottenham manager, Carragher told Monday Night Football.
But last season, getting to the Champions League final papered over some of the cracks slightly. They lost 20 games last season.
So that was my worry for them. Are they going to get back to what we have seen in the last few years from them at the start of this season, or has this team realised it’s not quite good enough to win the Premier League, or to win the Champions League?
It feels like it’s physical and it’s mental maybe in the dressing room too. There is a lack of intensity and it comes from the fact they have been together so long and they are not quite good enough. It looks to me like this is the end of it now.
They are not going to win the Premier League or the Champions League now. They are just about qualifying for the top four and that was the remit three or four years ago.
Pochettino’s Tottenham have long earned plaudits for their pressing game but that spark has been missing of late, with Carragher highlighting the contrast between their performances in the derby games against Arsenal in recent seasons.
In February 2018 against Arsenal, it was what I would call peak Pochettino, he explained.
Tottenham were outstanding. It was the compactness of the team. They were winning the ball quickly and Arsenal could not play. It was impossible to play against that Pochettino team then, because of how aggressive they were and how quickly they broke.
But it was a very different story when the teams met last month.
That was when I realised that last season was not a blip, and it was bigger than that. It was so easy for Arsenal to play against Tottenham in that game and nothing seems to have changed since. It almost felt like it was in slow motion. Almost like it was a testimonial.
Is it a physical thing? I just feel like there has been a mental drop-off, because of that lack of belief that they can attain what they thought they could, and that’s where the enthusiasm and the excitement had come from. There is a lack of intensity. A drop-off that makes me think they won’t get where I hoped they would get.
I still feel there are some really good players at Tottenham and they have one of the great managers, not just in the Premier League but in Europe. But for me now, him being there for six years with the same players, they have reached a level now where they are not going to go any further.
I tell you what it reminds me of, and this is why I am not going to be too critical of the players or the manager. I was managed for Gerard Houllier for six years, and Rafa Benitez for six years. They are the two biggest influences on my career. They did great jobs for Liverpool and they won trophies.
The thing for us year after year was to win the title. Then we got to second, and we completely fell away. It was almost as though we needed to start again. And with Tottenham, it is as if they need to start again, either with a new manager – not because he’s not good enough, because he is good enough – or with a new squad.
This squad should have been changed before now. The manager has been crying out for that. So I think you have to point fingers at people at the top of the club, because this team needs new players. It just needed freshening up and now it feels like it’s gone on too long.