Have Spurs have lost their identity under Nuno Santos ?

Last season, Spurs started their campaign with huge ambitions as they were sitting on top of the table after ten games. Spurs were on an unbeaten run after 10 games as Harry Kane and Heung-min Son were too hot to handle for other teams. The duo was almost replicating the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema under Mourinho. But as things progressed, Mourinho was unable to crack code against big teams such as Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Photo Credits: premierleague.com

Spurs went from title contenders to fighting for a European spot. Jose Mourinho’s style of play was constantly questioned as Spurs weren’t able to cope up with the modern tactics. Pep Guardiola’s tactical masterstroke saw his side emerge victorious in a 3-0 win at Etihad after losing 2-0 at Wembley in the reverse fixture. The only positive from the season was Kane and Son’s partnership. Especially, Harry Kane, who bossed the goalscoring and assists charts with 23 goals and 14 assists in 35 Premier League games.

In the amazon documentary, a conversation between Kane and Mourinho caught the eyes of football fans as Jose Mourinho stated that he will help Harry Kane explode under his management. Mourinho’s prediction was perfect as Kane grabbed the golden boot and top assister award in Premier League. However, Mourinho was sacked just 6 days before their Carabao Cup final against City. Ryan Mason was confirmed as the club manager on an interim basis until the end of the season. Spurs finished in the seventh spot and qualified for the inaugural UEFA Conference League.

Photo Credits: thesportsnews.in

In the summer, Spurs started their search for a top-level manager which included big names such as Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino, Paulo Fonseca, Gennaro Gattuso and Julen Lopetegui. Their pursuit for a new head coach came to an end when Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed as Jose Mourinho’s successor at Spurs. Nuno wasn’t even a candidate for this job but as various coaches rejected offers and some failed to reach an agreement with the club, Nuno was their last hope to settle for.

Nuno’s appointment was questionable for the supporters as Spurs are known for their attacking football whereas Nuno has earned his reputation for his defensive tactics at his previous stint at Wolves. He played with a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 system which was tough to break down. Under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs evolved as a team and had an identity that helped them reach to top-level of football as Spurs played their first-ever Champions League final and also finished second in the 2015/16 Premier League season.

Nuno started his campaign with a crucial 1-0 win against the reigning champions, Man City. The scoreline remained the same as Spurs beat Wolves and Watford before the international break. Nuno was awarded the Manager of the Month award for his 3 consecutive wins but things changed very quickly as Spurs lost three London derbies and conceded nine goals and scored just one as Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal ran riot against them.

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The most recent North London Derby will be painful for Nuno as his side lost the game within 40 minutes. Arsenal was in cruise control at The Emirates as Emile Smith-Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Aubameyang racked up 3 goals within 39 minutes. Nuno’s idea of playing both Ndombele and Dele Alli in the midfield was a failure as both players pushed high up the pitch, leaving Hojbjerg stranded by himself and Arteta recognised this flaw and insisted his players attack such spaces. The Gunners well and truly enjoyed exploiting the midfield as they wrapped the game with a 3-1 win.

Photo Credits: thesun.co.uk

With this result, Arsenal sits above Spurs in the Premier League table in 10th position. Fans will be fuming after this result and all eyes will be on Nuno. Harry Kane is slowly becoming a shadow of himself under Nuno. Spurs convinced him to stay after a long transfer saga with Man City but with such poor form, it will be impossible to convince him again. Harry Kane hasn’t scored a goal or even registered a shot on target this season which is very unlikely for a man of his calibre.

He is not the ideal coach for Spurs, who are known for their free-flowing, entertaining, and attacking football. Daniel Levy, Chairman of Tottenham, said that Spurs will play free-flowing, attacking and entertaining football under Nuno Santos but it isn’t visible as they have scored only 3 goals in 6 games. Spurs fans have every right to demand improvement after Mourinho’s dull reign which is unlikely to improve soon with Nuno at the helm.

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