Tottenham are desperate for the season to end after a collapse which should set off new manager’s alarm bells
Ottenham ended the season at home with two halves of very different quality, giving up a half-time lead to lose 3-1 to Brentford.
The result all but ended Spurs’ chances of securing a Europa League place (Brighton need only beat relegated Southampton on Sunday to secure a top-six spot) and even a place in the much-maligned Europa League. Conference League is now out of their hands. .
They could still finish as low as ninth, proving Antonio Conte’s point on how easily the club could slide down the table, although the former head coach is far from faultless for the chaotic form of the Spurs.
Frankly, the sooner the season ends and Spurs can reset under a new permanent manager, the better for everyone associated with the club.
They are yet to travel to Sam Allardyce’s Leeds on the final day, a daunting prospect after a second-half slump that suggested Ryan Mason’s players are mentally and physically down.
Harry Kane continues to be a ray of light in the dark and set another record here, becoming the first player to score in 25 different Premier League games in a single season with a stunning 25-yard free kick.
It was his 28th goal of the season, quite a feat given how abject Spurs have been for the duration of the campaign.
The ease with which Brentford turned the game around through Bryan Mbeumo’s superb brace and Yoan Wissa’s late strike demonstrated the scale of the job for the next Spurs boss as they, predictably, have cracked under the pressure – not for the first time this season.
The priority for the club over the summer should be at least two new defenders and a goalkeeper, as well as perhaps a starting midfielder.
There were, at least, some positives from the first 45 minutes and if the likes of Arne Slot, Luis Enrique or Ruben Amorim were watching, they can be convinced that there are some raw ingredients to work with next quarter.
Despite the absence of Cristian Romero and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg through injury, interim head coach Mason made a number of bold calls in a 4-2-3-1 attacking system, with Arnaut Danjuma making his first start and Dejan Kulusevski in his favorite role. at number 10.
Yves Bissouma has made his first start in the league since New Year’s Day.
And for 45 minutes, Spurs were brilliant, with the front four interchanging in encouraging fashion and Bissouma adding energy and dynamism in the middle of the park.
At 1-0, Emerson Royal saw an effort cleared from the line by Rico Henry after a deft move and Danjuma, Kulusevski and Heung-min Son also had chances to extend Spurs’ lead.
Spurs were forced to regret their missed chances as Brentford came back after the interval, Mbeumo making the most of a yard space to find the far corner and then running past Ben Davies to give the advantage to the Bees.
Wissa made it safe after Oliver Skipp lost possession on the edge of his box.
For Thomas Frank, the victory was the perfect tonic after the difficult news of Ivan Toney’s eight-month ban, a reminder that Brentford are well enough trained to manage without their talisman.
They could still finish above Spurs this term, a testament to Frank’s stellar work but overwhelming for north Londoners.