Another predictable result that came about in typical NUFC fashion, where for large parts of the game you could be forgiven for saying we might have deserved something.

The lineup was another thinker. Ritchie back at left wing back and Almiron in centre mid. To be fair to Bruce, if you’re going to experiment with formations and try and get a competent performance out of Emil Krafth, then do it in the games that mean nothing. (He didn’t)

I don’t really understand why Bruce is persisting with Bentaleb. He is not worth the wages it would take to bring him here permanently and I’ve not seen him contribute in a way that justifies his continued selection, even with the injuries we have.

That said, we actually started well and for the first half hour this 3-5-2 looked like it could work. We made 3-4 decent chances whilst they offered very little. What was missing, as it has been all season, was a bit of quality in their box. Shelvey was hitting some good balls and making things happen, and St Max was causing them all sorts of problems early on. We just didn’t take any of these opportunities.

Our best 2 chances of the half came where Gayle and Shelvey were on the receiving end of excellent crosses and good players score at least one of those. 

Their first goal arguably came against the run of play in typical Mourinho fashion with their first shot on target. Schar will get the blame for losing the ball cheaply (and then failing to block the shot) but it was just poor all round. Spurs initially broke after a bad pass from Ritchie to Gayle on the halfway line. Then they win the ball back just outside our box but we reacted so poorly. We had plenty of men back and shouldn’t be letting them get a shot away.

Then the usual. After 35 mins our midfield has already ran out of legs (Shelvey and Bentaleb anyway) and we just start losing our hold on the game and needed half time to regroup. 

We started OK after the break and early in the second half we got a lifeline as Serge Aurier scuffed a clearance straight to Matt Ritchie in acres of space. He had time to take a good touch and then smashed it across goal. A really brilliant strike, one of those really satisfyingly ones that finds the absolute top angle of the net. Ritchie can still be a threat in a side that plays a bit more on the front foot and get’s into the opponent’s half.

That was the moment to freshen things up though. Lazaro had just come on, but for me I think another change here to show some intent would have helped. We were already looking leggy in midfield and we just continued to get worse and worse as the game went on, as has been the case in all of our recent games. Steve’s answer was to again haul Gayle off for Joelinton. It did not go well.

I feel sorry for Fabian Schar. He’s been played out of position (or not at all) for so many weeks and then he finally gets put back at centre half, in the middle with a right hand side of Krafth and Yedlin with Shelvey and Bentaleb in front of him, with Harry Kane to deal with. He’s had another poor game and he doesn’t seem himself but I can see why. 

I also feel sorry for Matty Longstaff. We don’t fully know the story of what’s going on with him but my argument would be that he has far more potential and a future at this club. If he’s fit enough to come off the bench, he should have just started to give us some actual mobility in midfield. Instead he gets another 5 mins at the end of a game that’s already gone. Bentaleb was awful today and Longstaff couldn’t have offered any less given at least a half.

Again, I can accept that this is a Spurs side with far far better players than ours and a manager with a very full trophy cabinet. They still have something to play for and whether or not Mourinho actually wants to play in the Europa League, he wont want to finish below Man Utd, Wolves or Sheff Utd. That said our lack of desire and application in the second half is a real concern. Regardless of the takeover, this summer isn’t a normal summer. We basically start a new season in 7 weeks and this is not the kind of form we want to carry into the next one. We need to remember how to play well for more than 30 minutes per game. 

@SimonCampbell11 (Si)

Our Fans – 0 (Apparently Luke Edwards was there but he might deny watching the game)

Their Fans – 0 (there were 0 of them there)

Ref – 5 Meh

Bruce – First half 7 (surprised us all). Second half 0 (wrecked the game again).

If you want to hear Micky, Ben and Si on the pod covering the high’s and lows of this one, or if you’d rather hear Keith Gillespie look ahead to the next one, sign up to our Patreon page here for hours of extra patter from the team at True Faith: https://www.patreon.com/tfpodcast/posts