The one goal defeat leaves Tottenham knowing that they must win against Dnipro in next week’s game at White Hart Lane. They also realise the importance of a clean sheet in the 2nd leg as their failure to score in Ukraine has left them susceptible to the away goal rule and with Dnipro being so dangerous on the counter-attack, they will need to improve their defending for the return game.
The heavy, uneven pitch didn’t allow for the intricate, short-passing game Spurs wanted to play so they made it easy for the home side who closed them down and broke at pace at every opportunity.Brad Friedel, the oldest player to play in the Europa League, showed that he can still play at this level, using his experience to good purpose with a number of crucial saves. He had no chance with the penalty, even though he guessed right and dived to his right, as the ball went in off the inside of the post.
For much of the game, Kyle Naughton, playing on his favoured side, coped with the pace and trickery of Konoplyanka. After an early scare, it was only late in the game that the Ukraine winger caused him a few difficulties. He also made a positive contribution going forward as he set up Paulinho for the cross which Roberto Soldado hit off his shin and over the bar.
Speaking at the press conference afterwards, Tim Sherwood blamed the pitch for the Spanish striker’s miss, saying it was the worst pitch that he’d ever seen.
In midfield Tottenham worked hard but Dnipro never gave them time on the ball, always pressing and waiting for a poor pass. Tottenham can expect the same next week as Juande Ramos sets up his team to defend their lead and break at pace. It will be an interesting game next Thursday which I look forward to attending.
Who Earned Their Tottenham Spurs Against Dnipro?