Three Tottenham players singled out after Sporting meltdown – ‘Torrid’

Antonio Conte knows Tottenham are still a long way off competing for title

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Tottenham stars Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Emerson Royal were singled out for criticism following their 2-0 defeat to Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday. A disappointing performance saw Spurs on their way to a stalemate until two late goals from the Portuguese side sent Antonio Conte’s side back to north London without a point.

Son is still searching for his first goal of the season, and Tottenham icon Glenn Hoddle admitted that the South Korean is “struggling” after a poor start to the campaign. “He’s had another torrid game,” Hoddle told BT Sport.

“I love him to bits and he is a fabulous player but he is struggling. As the ball’s coming to him he’s worried about his first touch, whereas when you’re in sync and confident you don’t have to worry about that, you’re thinking about what you’re doing next.”

Hoddle was joined by former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch and ex-Spurs midfielder Jermain Jenas, who all were unhappy with Emerson’s defending for Sporting’s second goal. “From a defensive point of view it’s very, very poor,” Crouch said. “Awful defending.”

Hoddle replied: “Emerson has got to get tight quicker there.” Before Crouch gave the Brazilian advice on what to do in the situation that saw Arthur Gomes go past him and score. “There’s so many factors there,” Crouch added. “You have got to show him the line you have got a two-v-one situation and he breezes past both of them.”

Jenas also was unimpressed by Emerson. “It’s loose,” Jenas said. “It’s really loose defending. It’s not something that you associate with Antonio Conte’s defenders in any way shape or form and as Crouchy said it was coming, it was deserved.”

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While Crouch was also surprised by Kane’s performance. “I thought they were too lax,” Crouch said. “The finishing was a little bit wayward but even some of the touches, I thought Harry Kane at times it was coming off him, he was giving the ball away. There were too many performances that weren’t at the level expected in the Champions League. They got punished for it.”

Paulinho got Sporting’s opening goal in the 90th minute as he headed home at the near post from a corner, then less than three minutes later Gomez had the ball in the Spurs net after breezing past Emerson and Cristian Romero.

Conte was optimistic in defeat, pointing out how far his side have come since last season. “We have to analyse the game well and the players know that this is an important level,” Conte said after the game. “It’s right to continue to improve this process. Don’t forget last season we lost against Mura in the Conference League and we made an important step forward.”

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