Tottenham's FA Cup capitulation against Manchester United shows the team is just not good enough to compete at the top

A moment when the North Londoners reverted to being just Tottenham again rather than a club that had finally shaken off their unwanted tag of also-rans.

There can only be so many near misses before you realise that perhaps this much-vaunted side and manager is not at all that.

They were close to winning the title two seasons ago in 2015-16 but fell at the final hurdle as Leicester triumphed.

Last season they were also in the FA Cup semi-final but lost out 4-2 to Premier League winners Chelsea.

They had the upper hand on their own turf against Juventus in the Champions League last 16 this season and blew it.

Then on Saturday evening, after a stirring first 20 minutes in which they lead and took Manchester United apart, they folded — again.

Now if you are not going to pay the players the seriously big bucks like the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea, then you have to offer something else.

MAUR PROBLEMS Tottenham boss Pochettino hints at Spurs exit after club crash out of FA Cup semi-final stage yet again

Love of the club can only take you so far. Players strive for something more tangible like Cup finals and trophies.

They help to instil a winning mentality at a club.

When Manchester City ended their silverware drought in the 2011 FA Cup final that was what happened.

The victory over Manchester United in the semi-final and subsequent 1-0 triumph in the final over Stoke laid the foundations for what was to come — they have won three league titles since.

There was a new belief.

No longer could they be goaded for their lack of success. Spurs still can, with no trophies in a decade.

Forget about a shift of power in North London. Even with the demise of Arsene Wenger, Arsenal have continued to give their fans days to remember.

Three FA Cups in four years and maybe now a Europa League as well.

Saturday pretty much encapsulated Spurs — they are just not good enough.

Much has been talked about Mauricio Pochettino but Jose Mourinho showed him who was boss on the big stage.

When the players look to the sidelines they saw one manager who has won nothing and one who is a serial winner.

Mourinho managed the game superbly.

He was raging after the first 20 minutes but gradually orchestrated a turnaround.

He got Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic closer to Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele to give them no space.

He had Chris Smalling and Phil Jones drilled not to allow Spurs striker Harry Kane a chance.

He also got the big call spot on in playing Alexis Sanchez, who emerged as man of the match.

And Pochettino got his own big call wrong again.

He stuck with his second-choice goalkeeper Michel Vorm — because he had played in Tottenham’s previous cup games — but would France captain Hugo Lloris not have got to Herrera’s winning goal, which went in the middle of the net?

Pochettino also got it wrong the previous season in the semi-final as well when he inexplicably played Heung-min Son as a wing-back in defeat to Chelsea.

If Kane is struggling after recently returning from an ankle injury then he should not have been playing him.

I have watched him three times over the last week against Manchester City, Brighton and now Manchester United and he has not looked right in any of those games.

If he is not carrying a problem then he simply looks exhausted and that is a big worry for England going into this summer’s World Cup.

And while Tottenham is Kane’s club how long can he resist temptation from elsewhere to turn his ability in front of goal into medals? Because it is not happening at Spurs anytime soon.

Dele Alli, who scored an excellent opener, will undoubtedly be considering his options too.

It is sad — but I fear Spurs have missed the boat.

This group of players needed something to show for this period in the club’s history.

But when you have a manager who does not talk up the domestic cups as a contest, it is little wonder they don’t win them.

Mourinho takes them very seriously which is why he does win them — and then takes his sides on to greater things.


ARSENE WENGER was the architect of one of my most disappointing days at Newcastle as Arsenal beat us in the 1998 FA Cup final.

What a team he had then — organised at the back, strong in midfield and flair up front. You can’t use any of those terms to describe them now. It seems odd they had the same manager.

It’s been sad to see his demise played out in front of a divided Emirates. It should never have been this way and I wish he had bowed out with last season’s
FA Cup triumph over Chelsea.

The delay led to more self-imposed torment.

Let’s hope now he can add the Europa League trophy to those three titles and seven FA Cups — a haul that still marks him out as a truly great manager.


I TAKE no pleasure from Sunderland’s demise. How can a club of that size, with that stadium, find themselves in the third tier of English football?

Mismanagement on a huge scale from an owner who has long since wanted out.

It said everything about the malaise that few people there even seemed to realise they had gone down after Saturday’s home loss to Burton.

It is going to be a long haul back and don’t bank on a quick promotion. Every game next season will be like a cup final for their opponents, who will see the Black Cats as a major scalp.

What we will not be having soon is a North-East derby — and I’ll miss the great atmospheres.

They are great to play in but, unless they’re drawn in a cup, there won’t be another for a while.

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