Tottenham Hotspur could really struggle in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages and in particular against RB Leipzig in the round of 16, according to Bleacher Report journalist Sam Tighe.
Jose Mourinho’s side managed to qualify for the second phase of the competition after finishing second in a group which also featured Bayern Munich, Olympiacos and Red Star (BBC Sport).
They will now face the second-placed Bundesliga outfit over two legs for a place in the quarter-finals, as they bid to reach the final for a second successive season.
However, of the 16 teams left, Tighe suggests that Spurs are the 13th most likely club to lift the trophy and has also predicted that they could really struggle against their opponents in the next round if they perform as they have been doing of late, despite the fact that they have won their last three games against Manchester City, Southampton and Aston Villa (Transfermarkt).
Indeed, he suggests that the north London side haven’t overly impressed in those victories and believes they will need to be much better if they are to beat their German opponents.
Speaking about Tottenham’s chances in the Champions League, Tighe wrote on Bleacher Report: “Spurs enter their matchup with RB Leipzig on a three-match win streak—though, to be frank, no one’s quite sure how.
“There’s something to be said for their ability to grind out results, but the frailties shown against Southampton and Aston Villa, plus the sheer amount of luck that led to the win over Manchester City, can’t be glossed over just because the games finished as wins.
“Play anything like they have in the last three against Leipzig, and they’ll be ripped open and punished. It’s on Jose Mourinho to produce a tactical masterplan, sans Harry Kane (hamstring), that can best a top side over 180 minutes.”
Tighe certainly has a point here – Jose Mourinho will have to get much better performances out of his players if they are to get past RB Leipzig over two legs. As he mentions, the north London club were far from convincing against any of the three teams they have beaten recently. Indeed, against Aston Villa on Sunday, they conceded twice and allowed their opponents to have 18 shots (BBC Sport).
They cannot afford to be that open against a side as good as RB Leipzig, who have scored 56 goals in just 22 Bundesliga matches (BBC Sport), with lethal frontman Timo Werner having netted 20 of those (Transfermarkt).
Spurs have been extremely vulnerable at the back all season in truth and have conceded 34 times in just 26 Premier League outings (BBC Sport). They will need to tighten up significantly if they are to have any chance of progressing any further in the Champions League.
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