Dreadful results and Mauricio Pochettino flirting with Real Madrid: The questions facing Tottenham

Just under four months since their first Champions League final, who’d have thought it could’ve gone this wrong for Tottenham?  

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have hit a wall and are now in free-fall after their poor start to the season plunged to new depths in midweek when they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by League Two’s Colchester United.

But where has it all gone wrong for Tottenham? Here, Sportsmail digs deeper to into the ongoing crisis plaguing the boys in white.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men have hit a wall following their poor start to the season 

What’s going wrong in north London?

Tottenham’s poor start to the season was topped off with a third-round Carabao Cup exit on Tuesday evening, further limiting the club’s chances of winning their first piece of silverware in over 10 years.

A summer of uncertainty over several key players’ futures has clearly disrupted the squad, considering Spurs have won just two of their eight Premier League games this season.

Spurs also appear to have a severe hangover from the Champions League final after they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool in Madrid. Their magical run to the final has papered over the cracks considering Tottenham’s form since January.

Spurs are suffering from a severe hangover from the Champions League final defeat

Spurs are suffering from a severe hangover from the Champions League final defeat

Spurs haven’t won away from home since the start of the year – the worst record in the Premier League – and have shown no signs of improving despite shelling out £100million on three new signings this summer. 

There are also rumblings of discontent from a number of veterans in the squad, with one player complaining that Pochettino relays the ‘same old messages and same old training sessions’, according to The Athletic.

There’s also a lack of desire and drive in their play as they continue to struggle to break down sides that sit 10 men behind the ball. What’s clear is that Spurs need a reset and fresh start before their season spirals out of control completely. 

Who’s to blame? 

There are a number of factors that can be attributed to Spurs’ downfall in recent months.

With the disappointment of the Champions League final and an uncertainty over players’ futures, it’s evident that there would be issues heading into the new campaign.

Pochettino is struggling to motivate his players that have been run ragged over the past three years considering their lack of activity when it comes to bringing in new faces in the past.

The players also need to shoulder some of the blame, too, with their performances uninspiring to say the least at times while there seems to be a mentality issue considering they’ve given up comfortable leads several times this season.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has also had the finger pointed at him after he struggled to secure the futures of Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld – two players vital to future success for Spurs.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has struggled in securing key players' futures at the club

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has struggled in securing key players’ futures at the club

What does the future hold for Pochettino?

The Argentine has very much become a victim of his own success.

After performing miracles on a shoe-string budget – which saw no new arrivals in two transfer windows last season – Pochettino has always overachieved while at Tottenham.

The 47-year-old has guided the club to four top-four finishes during his five-year tenure, hitting at least 70 points in each of those campaigns. However, while Pochettino may have plenty of credit in the bank with Spurs fans, he still hasn’t won any silverware.

Pochettino is a victim of his own success at Spurs and has had a turbulent start to the season

Pochettino is a victim of his own success at Spurs and has had a turbulent start to the season

Despite this, the former Southampton boss is in high demand with Manchester United and Real Madrid reportedly keen on seeing what he could do when funds are made available.

Pochettino himself has flirted with the idea of leaving several times, with his most recent outburst coming at The Best awards where he said he’d be open to managing Real ‘some year’.

Daniel Levy will be desperate to keep hold of Pochettino but should one of the big boys come calling, it may spell the end of his impressive spell in north London. 

What key players might not be at club this time next year?

Christian Eriksen looks almost certain to leave in next 12 months barring a minor miracle should he be convinced to extend his stay at Tottenham.

The Danish playmaker has made it no secret that he’s looking for a new challenge with Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona his intended destinations. A summer move failed to materalise due to the fact Eriksen will be available on a free next summer.

Spurs are desperate to cash-in on one of their prized assets and would settle to include him in a swap deal for Juve’s Paulo Dybala.

Centre-back pairing Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen have also entered the final years of their contracts and their futures at the club appear uncertain, too.

Christian Eriksen (R), Toby Alderweireld (L) and Jan Vertonghen's (C) futures remain unclear

Christian Eriksen (R), Toby Alderweireld (L) and Jan Vertonghen’s (C) futures remain unclear

Vertonghen has insisted that he would like to stay at the club but Levy may be unwilling to provide him with a bumper new deal considering the defender is 32.

Alderweireld on the other hand has been pining for a move from Tottenham for a couple of years now and will most likely find a new club at the end of the season.

Danny Rose, who is Tottenham’s current longest-serving player, was also allowed to speak to another clubs during pre-season but a move failed to materalise. 

Serge Aurier and Victor Wanyama’s futures also remain up in the air and could be shown the exit once the window reopens.

How do the fans feel?

Frustrated and let down. Many have blamed Pochettino’s tactics in recent weeks while the weak mentality of the squad is another issue entirely.

Some supporters have called for Pochettino to leave but that knee-jerk reaction is from a group of fans in the minority with many keen to stick with the Argentine.

Defeat to Newcastle at home last month did nothing to help Tottenham’s cause before they went on to throw away a two-goal lead on two separate occasions weeks later. 

What do they need to do to get out of it?

Their Carabao Cup exit can be seen as a blessing in disguise. While Tottenham fans may not want to hear it as it was potentially their best chance of silverware this season, their early exit now reduces an already packed fixture schedule England’s top-flight teams are known for having.

Pochettino will be desperate to embed his new signings into the squad as quick as possible but he has faced difficulty since the window slammed shut.

The three that have arrived have been injured or picked up injuries, leaving Spurs with their core group of players that they always had. Tanguy Ndombele has featured the most out of the new signings but has missed a number of key games while Ryan Sessegnon is yet to make his debut for the club.

Giovani Lo Celso is currently out injured with a hip problem

Tanguy Ndombele has missed several games through injury

Giovani Lo Celso (left) and Tanguy Ndombele (right) need to get settled in as soon as possible

Giovani Lo Celso suffered a major setback while on international duty with Argentina after he picked up a hip injury during a match with Chile, ruling him out for two months.

Pochettino will also need to convince wantaway stars like Eriksen and Alderweireld to put their individual needs to one side and concentrate on the task at hand, considering they will most likely get what they want come June next year.

The Tottenham boss has also demanded that his players work harder without the ball and reclaim their identity as a high-pressing side.

However, the best way to get out of a slump is to take it on a game-by-game basis and a win against Southampton is the first step on the road to recovery.

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