Tottenham were scintillating but Leeds have the most charitable defence in the Premier League

Tottenham were scintillating in win over Leeds but Marcelo Bielsa’s side have the most charitable defence in the Premier League… the real challenges lie ahead

  • Tottenham thrashed relegation threatened Leeds 4-0 at Elland Road on Saturday
  • Leeds’ dysfunctional tactics proved to be a hinderance as they lost heavily again
  • Despite their strong performance, bigger challenges lie ahead for Tottenham

Maybe it was that Antonio Conte decided to stay on at Tottenham when realising the identity of their next opponents.

Feeling low and irritable? There can be few 90-minute treatments more revitalising than an afternoon in the company of Leeds United and the country’s most welcoming defence. Walk right through, lads, make yourself at home.

So, while this 4-0 victory was comprehensive, let us not jump to conclusions of all being well at Spurs just yet.

Matt Doherty opened the scoring to cap off a fantastic counter attack after just 10 minutes

It was only three days previous that Conte had sounded like a parody version of Jose Mourinho, emerging in a huff following defeat at Burnley to throw his pasta from the pan and his future into doubt.

‘No one deserves this type of situation – the club, me, the players and fans,’ he declared. ‘But this is the reality. I came in to try to improve the situation in Tottenham but maybe in this moment, I’m not so good.’

A tactic to trigger a response from his players? No chance. If anything, it was a self-preservation exercise, the Italian plotting an escape in a bid to limit reputational harm.

But then along came Leeds, the footballing equivalent of emergency aid. Newcastle, Everton, Manchester United and now Spurs, four clubs in desperate need of a victory in recent weeks and all finding salvation against Marcelo Bielsa’s dysfunctional team.

The challenge now for Spurs is to follow the example of Newcastle and use their reprieve as a platform for prolonged improvement. Yes, there is a note of caution given the ease of this win, but it also served as a reminder of the talent that resides within their number. They were, after all, winning at Manchester City seven days earlier.

Dejan Kulusevski (left) continued his impressive start at Tottenham with another goal

Dejan Kulusevski (left) continued his impressive start at Tottenham with another goal

It has long been a complaint that Spurs do not have enough creativity in the middle of the park. But in springing the break that led to Matt Doherty’s opener on 10 minutes, Harry Winks perhaps reminded himself of the profit to be had in passing forwards. He certainly has the capability.

Winks was clever and industrious throughout and, alongside midfield partner Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, the foundations of Spurs’ performance were laid. Hojbjerg’s assist for Harry Kane’s goal allied craft to his graft. Kane, too, was a class act, laying on the fourth for Son Heung-Min with a quarterback-like dispatch from deep.

Earlier, January signing Dejan Kulusevski smashed his second goal in a week, albeit assisted by defending that ranked as generous even by Leeds’ charitable standards.

Leeds' dysfunctional tactics were a hindrance as they fell to a heavy defeat once again

Leeds’ dysfunctional tactics were a hindrance as they fell to a heavy defeat once again

And that is why answers to the many questions around Spurs and their pursuit of a top-four finish will only become apparent by what happens next.

They thought the win at City would signal an upturn. Within a few days their manager was threatening to quit and, while Conte remains, so does uncertainty.

You can’t play Leeds every week.