Match report: Paços de Ferreira 1 Spurs 0 (but I am not disappointed)

Match report: Paços de Ferreira 1 Spurs 0 (but I am not disappointed)

da Silva de Jesus (45’minutes)

If this had been the team that beat City, then I would have been fuming that we were hit by a team like Pacos. But we weren’t, we were beaten because we had a team of experimental youngsters in it. And we’ve still got a second crack at the whip next week, at home in front of our own supporters. Where I imagine we will have a much stronger lineup. I also suspect that Nuno has done his duty to Levy in putting the required amount of youngsters in – to justify Levy’s academy –  and next week back to normal.

The match against Pacos was a good exercise for the academy youngsters, and Nuno has probably learnt something.

But to the match; Nuno Espirito Santo said the club’s “feelgood factor disappeared” as we were beaten in the Europa Conference League play-off first leg. He left the whole starting XI from Sunday’s 1-0 win over  City at home. And, of course, Kane didn’t play either, and as I said in my Match Preview, he is probably at home getting fit to play for City.

To that goal that sunk our youngers; Lucas Silva ran in behind Cristian Romero too quickly to latch on to Nuno Santos’ through ball and slot into the bottom corner for the only goal.

Nuno responded to that defeat; “Nobody likes to lose a game. Nobody likes to not play good. The feel-good factor disappeared. This is football, ups and downs. The players have to bounce back.”

We didn’t manage a single shot on target, however, Nuno said he did not underestimate the hosts and would pick the same team again. Yes, if that match was played over again, however, for the replay, it will be a totally different team and different game, unless he is on a suicide mission?

Nuno also added, “The decision was to try to give minutes to players, to get minutes on their legs and increase the levels of fitness,” he said. “Of course things take some time. I would decide the same. We need all the players.”

Nonetheless, our European campaign in the new third-tier tournament will be over before we even reach September unless we win next Thursday’s second leg at our Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Our new coach started three new summer signings; Romero, Bryan Gil and Pierluigi Gollini. Teenagers Dan Scarlett and Nile John also made their first starts for the club, and J’Neil Bennett and Maksim Paskotsi came on for debuts – but there were no actual standout performances in my mind. Identical twins Michael and Matthew Craig, 18, were among the unused substitutes on an untested bench.

I also noticed that Nuno didn’t say if he would play a similar team for the second leg, adding he wanted to focus on Sunday’s Premier League game against Wolves first. Of course he didn’t say as he isn’t foolish, and he certainly won’t want to lose that one and be quickly and dramatically be out of the competition before it has even started (properly).

Let me just mention two players:

Harry Winks

He had a nightmare. This was supposed to be his showcase game, and he was one of the senior players out there in midfield, as well as someone who did a full pre-season with the first team; but he was dreadful this evening. In possession, his touch was so opaque, and he gave the ball away a lot. He was often run ragged and also gave away a lot of fouls. His days are numbered at Spurs on this performance.

A lot of our fans are calling for him to be sold. Social media has been very critical of him.

Sessegnon

He has just come back from injury. However, he needs to shake that sluggishness off, build his fitness, and push Reguilon for that left-back spot. You could actually see him prosper a lot as the game went on. In the second half, he was our most confident and creative player.

So, two contrasting views. Winks, the joker in the pack, where Sessegnon could be the Ace if he improves himself even more.

My rating of all the players

I give Pierluigi Gollini  a 6

He might have done better when on a one-on-one with Silva.

Cameron Carter-Vickers 3

An inept presentation which did little to show that he has a future at the club. He was often caught deep and played Silva onside for the winning goal. Then hobbled off with a late injury.

Ben Davies 7

He captained the side, brought the ball out of defence well and was the most solid of the three centre-backs.

Harry Winks 3 (and I am being generous here)

He failed to take his chance with an inconsistent performance, which included losing the ball in the build-up to the goal.

Giovani Lo Celso 6

Failed to stamp his authority on the fixture, as you might have expected from a Copa America winner, and he didn’t gel with Winks.

Ryan Sessegnon 7

Rusty and fluffed our best chance of the game from Gil’s early cutback. However, he matured into the game and was our brightest player in the second half. He needs more minutes to restore his confidence and touch.

Nile John 2

Anonymous in his full debut.

Bryan Gil 7

Not consistently effective on his full debut. Created a chance for Sessegnon. Looked at home on the ball and saw plenty of it at times.

Dane Scarlett 6

The Harry Kane double hopeful; sadly, he was starved of service and couldn’t make the most of the half-chances that fell his way. When he did have the ball, he looked confident on those rare occasions.

Jack Clarke (John 46′) 4

Could not make an impact on the game.

J’Neil Bennett (Sessegnon 80’) 3

Gave Sessegnon a breather for the final 10 minutes, with Clarke switching to the left-wing.

Maxim Paskotski (Carter-Vickers 86’)

Not on long enough to make a sound judgement.

Subs not used: Astin, Lyons-Foster, Cesay, Ma. Craig, Mi. Craig, White, Mundle.

Thoughts

As I said initially, it was a youthful and inexperienced side that lost 1-0 in the first leg. Nuno made 11 changes from the team that beat Man City, and that says it all. Either Nuno is confident that he can pull a rabbit out of the hat in the replay (and that rabbit will be a much stronger team), or he is a fool, and I don’t think he is that or even Levy’s Academy user puppet, but time will tell.

It doesn’t make a difference in these competitions if we lose one leg, so long as we go through. If we go through, then his youthful squad will have done their job and gave us an eye into Nuno’s thinking where youngsters and the academy are concerned.

Be safe, Glenn

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