Back to sq. one for Spurs and Conte
The warning indicators had been there, staring Tottenham proper in the face, on Sunday.
Fortunate to move into the interval solely a aim down in opposition to Leeds, Spurs, with the assistance of Antonio Conte’s histrionics from the sidelines, managed to safe their first victory since Nuno Espirito Santo’s sacking with a spirited comeback.
A nook regarded to have been turned, the Conte revolution in north London regarded to have taken its first tentative strides. Or, at the very least, that’s the way it appeared.
Thursday’s shambolic Europa Conference League defeat to minnows NS Mura – a staff with a UEFA coefficient rating of 341 – proved the win over Leeds merely papered over the fissures which nonetheless exist in this Tottenham squad.
If Conte wasn’t conscious of the dimensions of the duty positioned in entrance of him, then occasions in Slovenia provided a startling reality check for the Italian.
“After three weeks I am starting to understand the situation,” he conceded in his post-match press convention. “At this moment the level at Tottenham is not so high. We were poor not only technically and tactically but also mentally.”
Make no mistake about it, Conte’s process has as a lot to do with issues on the pitch because it does with the minds of this expensively-assembled, underperforming Tottenham squad.
Their software, enthusiasm, and power, or lack of, have seen off Mauricio Pochettino, Jose Mourinho and Nuno in little greater than two years. Conte has his work reduce out to keep away from struggling the identical destiny.
Foxes present chunk – in the end
Leicester have made onerous work of a comparatively simple Europa League group, and you’ll have laughed had you been informed it could take them till matchday 5 to lastly decide up a second win of the match.
But it has been a season to neglect for Brendan Rodgers all spherical, thus far, hasn’t it? Perhaps till now, at the very least.
Just as Leicester have languished close to the underside of the Premier League desk in the opening 12 video games, in order that they had been final in Group C of the Europa League going into tonight’s sport with Legia Warsaw.
Now, 90 minutes on, they’re sitting fairly on the group summit after one in all their greatest performances of the season, with their destiny in their very own fingers forward of a visit to Napoli in a fortnight.
The Foxes have been responsible of gradual begins this season however all of their three objectives got here in the opening half-hour right here – and they may have had extra.
No-one is anticipating Chelsea, high of the Premier League, to fret an excessive amount of a couple of outcome like this. But one thing does have to stir Rodgers’ boys into life. Is this the second?
Van Bronckhorst will get a tune out of Morelos
It’s been a blended season for Alfredo Morelos, who has reduce a annoyed determine up entrance for Rangers in loads of video games.
However, in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first sport in cost, the Colombian striker regarded again to his best as Rangers beat Sparta Prague 2-0 to succeed in the knockout phases of the Europa League.
The 25-year-old pressed from the entrance and made an actual nuisance of himself – traits for which Morelos is well-known. The objectives additionally adopted too – a nice end for his first, whereas he was in the appropriate place on the proper time to seize Rangers’ essential second.
He has now scored 13 objectives in European competitors for Rangers (excluding qualifiers), which is the joint-most by any participant in the membership’s historical past, degree with Ralph Brand.
The 13 objectives he has now netted in the Europa League because the begin of 2018/19 is a haul solely bettered by Munas Dabbur (17), Bruno Fernandes (16) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (14) in that very same interval.
And Van Bronckhorst, who revealed it was a plan to get Morelos taking part in additional ahead, was delighted along with his striker’s efficiency.
“He did really well,” Van Bronckhorst mentioned. “He is a striker who can create danger. Sometimes he has a thing for going into the midfield, but as you see with the wingers we have, we should always create chances with the crosses. We have to have bodies in the box and tonight he did really well.”
It’s actually a promising begin for Van Bronckhorst, Rangers and Morelos, however the Dutchman and the Rangers followers will probably be hoping it isn’t a one-off from the Colombian. They will wish to see rather more of this Morelos in the subsequent few weeks as the main focus turns to their Scottish Premiership title defence, beginning at Livingston on Sunday, stay on Sky Sports.
Celtic so shut, however thus far
How lengthy would Celtic followers have been speaking about tonight had they held onto the 2-1 lead they’d over Bayer Leverkusen contained in the final 10 minutes.
It’s an indication of how far Ange Postecoglou’s facet have come, and how far they’ve left to go, that the Bhoys had been so near victory in opposition to a facet presently a degree off third in the Bundesliga.
It feels lots longer than two months in the past Celtic had been thrashed 4-0 in their very own again yard by the identical opponents, as they careered from one concern to a different in a troublesome begin to the season.
Now the brand new supervisor has his ft firmly beneath the desk, they had been painfully near a well-known win on the continent – one all too rare in the final couple of years – by way of some acquainted Kyogo Furuhashi and Jota genius, but in addition Joe Hart’s heroics on the again.
Character was in plentiful provide in Germany, and you will not see many objectives labored higher than Celtic’s second.
In the top, some schoolboy errors, and a noticeable dip in high quality as soon as Postecoglou introduced off a few of his tiring heroes, proved pricey in the top.
But tonight is not an evening for specializing in squad depth or what might need been. After a efficiency like that, for 80 minutes at the very least, the supervisor and his gamers ought to marvel what they may obtain in future years – and whether or not they could make an actual impression in the Europa Conference League after Christmas.
Professional West Ham get the job carried out
West Ham have reached the final 16 of the Europa League after profitable their group with a 2-0 victory at Rapid Vienna. The win additionally continues their unbeaten run in Europe this season however there was no fanfare and there have been no huge celebrations from David Moyes and his facet.
It was a case of job carried out and there was even a little bit disappointment from Moyes about his facet’s efficiency in Vienna.
“Job done, yeah. We did a professional job tonight and throughout the group stage we’ve done a good job. It’s great credit to the players for the way they have gone about the job for a group relatively new to Europe.
“It’s one thing I’ve not taken in but. I knew we may get the job carried out however I believe tonight we have now not performed in addition to we have now carried out, however we did sufficient to get us by way of. It’s in all probability an excellent signal that I’m not completely happy with the best way we performed however we have received comparatively comfortably.”
Moyes might be being a contact harsh on his facet, who rested plenty of first-team regulars forward of their Premier league conflict with Manchester City on Sunday, however the response is an indication of simply how far West Ham have come beneath the Scot.
The huge outcomes in Europe usually are not a shock any extra for this West Ham facet, who not many sides will wish to face in the knockout when it comes round after Christmas.