Monaco Lesson: Harsh To Learn

The club got many things right with the choice of Wembley as a venue for the Champions League matches. Pricing, opening up the opportunity for more people to attend; it’s a positive PR win. A shame that the team didn’t match that.

It’s easy to become bogged down by navel gazing in the aftermath of a defeat but the fact that Monaco sit atop Ligue Un and comfortably beat Paris St Germain ought to have rung some alarm bells. This, if you believe the UEFA rankings, was the easiest of the three home ties.

So how did it go so disastrously wrong? Did we fall prey to the ‘Wembley Curse’?

Certainly Monaco were better than the side which was thrashed 4 – 1 at the Lane in December of last year. Half the side was changed and it made a difference. As did our implosion.

Lamela gave the ball away and Silva hot-footed it through the defence to score. Lemarr hammered the ball into the roof of the net fifteen minutes later. Two-down and the atmosphere was flatter than a balloon pricked by a pin.

They say that scoring just before half-time is the best time but I can’t help but think that the interval came too soon.

The goal proved to be a false dawn. There were chances, moments all too fleeting. Son had a shot off the line, Dele Alli brought ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ on a couple of occasions but it was a very familiar feeling. Close but no cigar.

Harry Kane’s revival at Stoke proved to be brief; perhaps he can perk up a bit against Sunderland. The Euro 2016 hangover is taking more than a couple of ibuprofen to heal it. The question is whether it might be better to use Vincent Janssen more than sparingly on the counter in Moscow and Leverkusen. It’s

We did fall prey to the Wembley Curse. Monaco were inspired by the space the pitch offers, by the fact that the stadium is unfamiliar to most of the side. Sure, England play there but Spurs aren’t England and that is a crucial difference. When half the side doesn’t know the ground, the pitch dimensions, and is in awe of the stadium’s history, you’ve got problems.

It makes this an away game effectively even though we have to play like we’re at home. Is it a temporary hiccup as some are suggesting? Possibly; Leverkusen got their comeuppance for trolling the official twitter account but are a better side than CSKA as far as I can see.

The problem is we are naive through inexperience at this level. We have to understand that mistakes will be punished and retrieving a two-goal deficit in the Champions League is a far from simple task. The game at Wembley against Leverkusen is vital for confidence.

Those who say this was a success are half-right but the only thing which matters is the result and that was just wrong. Learn from the mistakes and we put it down as sharp learning curve otherwise, it’s just a Europa League audition.