Just five months after reaching the Champions League final, Mauricio Pochettino faces his toughest managerial test as Tottenham suffer embarrassing loss to Bayern Munich
It is hard to comprehend that Tottenham were Champions League runners-up last season.
Back in those balmy nights in June, even though they suffered defeat against Liverpool in Madrid, it seemed the world was Tottenham’s oyster.
Five months later, they are unrecognisable. On a rain and wind swept night in north London, that fall from grace was laid bare in living colour as Bayern Munich dismantled Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Tottenham’s 7-2 humbling against Bayern Munich laid bare many problems within the club
Those with Spurs connections will point to the fact that it’s only October. They have a point, of course. There’s still plenty of football to be played and with games against Brighton and Watford on the horizon, two wins on the spin will serve to placate the concerns.
But Tottenham are only one defeat away from a crisis right now. That’s a wholly uncomfortable scenario for Pochettino.
Saturday’s hard fought win over Southampton was a step in the right direction. Here on Tuesday night, they took two steps back.
So here we are slap, bang in the middle of another crisis. It seems incredible to think this team were beaten Champions League finalists last season.
Robert Lewandowksi was on target twice to help Bayern Munich assert their dominance
Has Pochettino taken this Spurs team as far as he can? You hope not. Watching the Argentine’s impact at Spurs has been one of the success stories of the Premier League era.
But something isn’t quite right. Pochettino knows that. The players know that.
Of course, Pochettino’s job remains one of – if not the safest – in England.
Daniel Levy knows what he has. If Spurs don’t want him, there’ll be several clubs across Europe that will.
After another damaging loss, Mauricio Pochettino is facing the toughest test of his career
But Pochettino is now facing one of the most significant tests of his managerial career. Can he halt this alarming malaise that has suddenly engulfed the club that hoped for so much at the start of the season?
In these precarious times, Harry Kane remains a constant. He scored again on Tuesday night to take his Champions League tally for the season to two in as many games.
But many of his team-mates are struggling to find a similar consistency. Dele Alli is struggling for form which must leave him sweating on his England place ahead of Thursday’s squad announcement.
Likewise, Christian Eriksen was yet again left on the bench. Alli and Eriksen, at their best, make this team tick – their loss of form is a huge worry for Pochettino.
On a positive note, the mature performance of Harry Winks should give Pochettino hope that their season can still have a happy ending.
Despite being one of their best players, Christian Eriksen started on the bench for Spurs
It is a travesty this country only ever really fell in love with Paul Scholes towards the end of his career.
We appreciate his brilliance now, of course. A supreme footballer with the ability to orchestrate a football match without appearing to break into a sweat.
Sometimes you truly don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. That’s certainly the case with Scholes.
We are in danger of making the same mistake with Winks. Unassuming, much like Scholes was, Tottenham’s No 8 often goes under the radar.
His mistake for Bayern’s fourth took the gloss of his display – but Pochettino knows what he has in Winks. Hopefully so does Gareth Southgate.