Gary Neville has criticised five Tottenham Players following their disappointing 1-1 draw with Everton on Monday night. Spurs invited plenty of pressure upon themselves after taking the lead in the match, despite having a numerical advantage after Abdoulaye Doucoure was shown a straight red card.
Following the sacking of Antonio Conte, many expected Spurs to improve – despite Conte's assistant coach Cristian Stellini staying to step up for the final 10 games of the season. But there was very little change on the pitch at Goodison Park, with Tottenham spending extended periods of the match under the cosh against their relegation-battling opposition.
Though they were handed a lifeline in the 58th minute when Doucoure was dismissed for violent conduct after shoving Harry Kane in the face. The striker then put his side in front from the penalty spot in a moment that proved decisive for all the wrong reasons from a Tottenham point of view.
Spurs decided that one goal was enough at Goodison Park and invited pressure, and it proved costly after Michael Keane smashed home a 90th-minute equaliser just moments after Tottenham’s Lucas Moura was given his marching orders for a dangerous challenge.
The draw prompted widespread criticism of the Spurs squad and their failure to manage the game and secure all three points. Speaking to Sky Sports about the performance, Neville said: “They were okay. Okay - nothing spectacular. They’ve been a bit dour to watch for quite a long time, the spark isn’t there with Son, with Kulusevski and Kane as we’ve seen in previous seasons. Something’s missing - the quality through midfield.
“To be fair to Hojbjerg and Skipp, they’re workmanlike, they do a good job but they don’t deliver good passes forward, they don’t like the Players together like midfielders in a lot of teams do. I said before the game the wing-backs are of the quality to play in that sort of system, I think it’s a really difficult position to play with a lot of expectation.
“Going forward and defensively I don’t believe Spurs have the best wing-backs. Defensively they look a little bit drained, like they’ve had the energy sapped off them. They competed but the big point Stellini made there was that they should have really seen the game out when they went one nil up - the game management wasn’t good enough.”
The draw means that Spurs remain in fourth place in the Premier League and are well within the reach of the chasing pack, made up of Manchester United, Brighton and Brentford.
Spurs must improve for the display in order to retain the services of their most valuable assets – such as Kane – though that looks incredibly unlikely based on their performance against Everton.