Hopeless Tottenham surrender at Carrow Road 4

Norwich 1 Tottenham 0

Sometimes when a struggling side defeats a more talented team it’s easy to explain. The Premier League has shown over the years that anyone really can beat anyone and that, on any given day, a side can temporarily lift their level and grind-out a win when they absolutely have to. Similarly, football is often a game of luck and occasionally the officials can in some way contribute to an anomalous result.

Unfortunately for Tottenham, none of those reasons where applicable today.

The temptation might be to praise Norwich for a gritty display at Carrow Road, but that would actually flatter Chris Hughton’s side and ignore the reality that they were required to do very little to actually win this afternoon. Norwich were functional, they had a good energy to them, and they showed laudable desire from first whistle to last - but that in itself should not have been enough to hold a talented Spurs team at arm’s length.

Excuses are all the rage amongst tribal fans, and there will be some element of the Tottenham support who attribute their team’s lacklustre performance to the scheduling of the Europa League. It’s hardly mitigating; Spurs were as listless and directionless on Thursday against Dnipro as they were today, and the meagre exertions of last week’s performance do little to explain-away such an inept ninety minutes. Defeat today wasn’t about energy or cumulative fatigue, it was about attitude and an unforgivably sloppy approach which has, in effect, eliminated them from Champions League contention.

Tim Sherwood has faced a lot of hostility since inheriting the side from Andre Villas-Boas, and maybe some of it has been overly-harsh, but today - and to a certain extent Thursday night - provided the vindication for a lot of that concern. Two games in a week with a long journey in-between is tough, nobody is claiming otherwise, but Tottenham have been rolled-over by two extremely mundane clubs within four days and Sherwood hasn’t managed his squad’s approach to either fixture appropriately.

The two drubbings by Manchester City were excusable for a variety of reasons, the loss to Liverpool was a product of a superb opposition performance and a red card, but this was genuinely as bad as it gets - a hopeless clusterfuck of basic errors, defensive-naivety, limited movement, and substandard application. There’s nothing to cling to, and there’s nowhere for Tottenham to look other than at themselves.

Sherwood deserves the chance to rectify whatever errors were made today, but if he doesn’t he can expect this result to feature prominently in his discussions with Daniel Levy at the season’s end.

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