Tottenham Hotspur went to Portugal to play Pacos de Ferreira with a very young and completely rotated squad. They’ll return home with a loss in the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off series. Lucas Silva scored in extra time of the first half on a breakaway after Harry Winks coughed up the ball in midfield and Cameron Carter-Vickers and Cuti Romero weren’t able to recover defensively. Spurs never recovered, and fell 1-0 in Portugal, taking a slight deficit into the return leg at White Hart Lane next Thursday.
I didn’t really watch this match. I saw some highlights, glanced at a dodgy stream every so often. What I saw wasn’t impressive. Playing a starting XI that was anchored by experienced players Winks, Romero, Giovani Lo Celso, Matt Doherty, Ben Davies, Pierluigi Gollini and Ryan Sessegnon with the rest filled in by youth teamers and literal children, Tottenham only managed two total shots in the match, none on target, and looked completely toothless.
From the little I actually saw, Bryan Gil looked lively. Dane Scarlett, who earned his first senior start for Tottenham, did not but barely had any service. My Carty Free colleagues state that Winks, Lo Celso, and Doherty all had pretty awful games on the whole.
So am I worried? No. I’m maybe very slightly annoyed that Tottenham’s reserves couldn’t manage to come away with anything close to a decent performance against a club of Pacos’ caliber, but I expect that Nuno Espirito Santo will tweak a few things after the Wovles match this weekend and put out a stronger side in the return leg next week. I still feel confident that Spurs have enough quality to win the tie.
A lot of fans want Spurs to punt competitions like this, because Spurs are apparently too good for the Conference League, or something. Those same fans are probably the ones who are melting down on social media right now over this performance.
Spurs fans: Play the kids in the Conference League!— Dustin George-Miller (@dustingm) August 19, 2021
Also Spurs fans: FFS why are we losing to the fifth best club in Portugal
Whatever. I’m not. A bunch of recovering or unfit players got major minutes today, we got a look at Bryan Gill (who looked lively) and a few promising youngsters even in the loss, and Tottenham will be just fine.
On to Molineux.