Mentally fragile Tottenham shocked by Bournemouth as top-4 hopes hit snag

Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur lost at home to Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.

For a side challenging for a place in the UEFA Champions League, Tottenham Hotspur have been far too inconsistent this season.

The North London outfit started the season with Antonio Conte in charge but parted ways with the Italian after his explosive post-match press conference, where he went after the club’s hierarchy and players.

The decision to promote Conte’s assistant Christian Stellini to interim head coach was always going to be strange. The results that have followed have only further vindicated those who had reservations.

Tottenham had a great chance to move into the top four when they faced relegation-threatened Bournemouth on Saturday (April 15), but they ended up fluffing their lines. What was supposed to be a routine victory turned into a difficult game, with Spurs suffering a disappointing 3-2 defeat.

Tottenham Hotspur bottle it against Bournemouth

Tottenham have been very poor for much of the season, and there were question marks despite last week’s 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion. In that game, Spurs were outplayed and, but for a couple of dodgy decisions by the referees and VAR, Brighton should’ve carried the day and deservedly so.

Unfortunately for Stellini and his side, they failed to raise their game when they hosted Bournemouth and were made to pay dearly for it. Heung-Min Son’s 14th-minute opener should’ve been the springboard to a happy afternoon. However, Spurs missed too many chances, allowing the Cherries to come from behind to lead 2-1.

When Amaut Dabjuma restored parity with a few minutes left, Richarlison was presented with a glorious opportunity to win the game for Tottenham but he missed. Moments later, Dango Ouattara netted the winner for the visitors. Once again, a mentally fragile Tottenham side bottled it when they had the chance to take all three points.

Tottenham’s top-four hopes fade

Losing to Bournemouth means Spurs remain in fifth position. With Newcastle United also suffering defeat to Aston Villa in their early kick-off game, Spurs would’ve moved into the top four had they won.

Now, though, what remains of them is a side that could be six points behind Manchester United should the Red Devils beat Nottingham Forest on Sunday. Even worse, Erik Ten Hag’s side have a game in hand. If they win that one, they will pull further clear in the top-four race. Spurs can only blame themselves for allowing the Bournemouth game to slip away.

“It is a really tough day today because we didn’t achieve what we want. We gave everything on the pitch, and I think everyone understands this,” Stellini said after the game, as quoted by Teamtalk.
“But we allowed them to score the first two goals too easily. Too easy, too easy. It is more difficult than when you are one goal down. You have to be strong at this moment to create a unit and have our fans with us. When you score one, the mindset has to be to score again. We didn’t do this. It is important for me that they understand why you try to score one more rather than concede chances.”

Tottenham’s Champions League hopes are gradually fading away. Considering that they face Newcastle United and Manchester United in their next two Premier League games, they could be blown out of the race entirely in the coming weeks, unless they massively improve.

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Edited by Bhargav
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