Olympiakos 2-2 Tottenham: No signs of Spurs taking next step – Matthew Upson

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By Matthew Upson
BBC Radio 5 live at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium
I looked that Tottenham have progressed as a group since reaching last year’s Champions League final, but I didn’t actually find any.
Spurs will be thrilled to receive a point from an eventful 2-2 draw however, though they averted defeat, it was not the sort of performance their supervisor Mauricio Pochettino would have wanted to watch.
Their run in this competition last year depended on objectives and play, directly from the start after it looked like they’d be heading out in the group stage, when they pulled themselves from despair.
It was a brilliant accomplishment, but it is much better to avoid being on the brink in the first place by making your pathway a bit more easy, and they did not really handle this here.
Yesthis is a tricky way to allow them to start out in Group B, together with also a home crowd all the heat in Piraeus, and an Olympiakos facet that was dangerous and filled with attacking intent.
But the best Champions League teams can bargain by maintaining possession and playing in their own pace, to take the bite from the resistance and silence the crowd.
For various reasons, Spurs never did some of this well enough on Wednesday.
I think that the lack of control they had right is exactly what Pochettino will be disappointed about, because having that is another step that he knows they must take if they’re likely to have sustained achievement in Europe.
Even though me impressed , Tottenham undoubtedly made life hard for themselves.
It was disappointing to observe they had been at the opening moments, when there were three or just two occasions at which they gave the ball.
But even when they seemed lethargic and were lacking urgency, Spurs reminded us that they’ve lots of quality in their side.
One of the reasons they ended up getting so much in the Champions League last season was when they got a chance, they could take it.
It was exactly the same against Olympiakos, and Tottenham finishing was that the difference between the two teams.
Their opening goal came from a penalty after a defensive mistake but Harry Kane’s spot-kick was nevertheless delightful, and Lucas Moura’s strike a little while after was world class.
In 2-0 up after 30 minutes, Spurs had completed the difficult part but they could not discover a means to prevent Olympiakos from applying pressure.
They could have done that by simply keeping hold of the ball , but it just felt like Tottenham players were below their levels and, even when that happens, you aren’t likely to get the best team performance either.
Pochettino made five changes from last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace, and there were. It revealed.
Dele Alli all, Tanguy Ndombele and ben Davies fought to impose themselves on the game, Davinson Sanchez did not click at right-back, and it’s uncommon to find Christian Eriksen give the ball.
I am not certain that was down to physical tiredness, possibly. It had been a mental sharpness that Spurs lacked, which led to mistakes.
It could have been worse – generally, like they did like this in the Champions League, if you play, you wind up being defeated.
Olympiakos sort of let them off the hook since he had been their danger man, when they shot Mathieu Valbuena off 20 minutes to go. Without him, they did not take the exact identical threat.
The most essential thing for Spurs was they didn’t lose.
As striking as Olympiakos had been, after this result I would back Spurs to finish above them and Red Star Belgrade in Group B and then make it through the past 16.
Red Star defeat Liverpool in Serbia last year, also Tottenham’s trip there in November will offer a challenging evaluation, much like several methods to the one they faced in Greece.
But I am expecting Spurs’ home form to view them through, and I think that they could improve as the year continues.
They are developing momentum and locating as Pochettino stated before the Olympiakos game – .
Matthew Upson was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
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