Jamie Carragher has accused Tottenham of lacking courage and “bottling” the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.
City completely dominated Tottenham in every department as they cruised to a fourth successive League Cup triumph with a 1-0 victory at Wembley on Sunday as Spurs’ 13-year wait for silverware continued.
Tottenham’s insipid performance was highlighted by an expected goals score of just 0.06; only one team in a Premier League game this season has registered lower – West Brom in a 3-0 defeat against Aston Villa in December.
The manner of the defeat was a chastening blow to young interim manager Ryan Mason, who was taking charge of only his second senior game since replacing Jose Mourinho, but Carragher is adamant the blame belongs to the Tottenham players.
“This has nothing to do with Ryan Mason at all,” he told Monday Night Football. “This group of players at Spurs are a group who really lack courage, and basically bottled it in the final. Forget about losing the final, you don’t expect them to win against Manchester City, but it was how they went about it.
“A lot of people say, ‘typical Spurs, they’re Spursy, they’re weak’. I fight against that because it’s lazy punditry. I’ve seen some brilliant Spurs teams; what I saw under Mauricio Pochettino was outstanding, what I saw under Harry Redknapp for two years was outstanding.
“But the reason people speak about Spurs in those terms is because of games like the Carabao Cup final. In their last four cup finals they haven’t scored a goal, and this most recent performance is why they get stuck with the ‘Spursy’ tag.
“I can’t argue against it, and the fans can’t argue against it on the back of the performance at Wembley, which was down to the players.
“The manager picked a midfield – Harry Winks, Giovani Lo Celso, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – to try and play through the middle but there was no courage, they didn’t want the ball and took the easy option time and again.
“Tottenham were criticised for playing too much at the back, but every time they went forward and went direct they lost the challenge. What could the manager do?
“That first-half performance? I’ve never felt a team was so lucky in my life to get in at nil-nil at half-time.”
According to statistics unearthed by the MNF team, Tottenham have averaged just 11.2 per cent of their passes going long this season.
But on Sunday against City, that figure stood at 17.7 per cent – comparable to the highest percentage of any club in the Premier League this term, Burnley’s 18.9 per cent.
“They played like one of the teams fighting relegation,” concluded Carragher. “That’s what should embarrass them – not their manager, but their actual players.
“Forget Ryan Mason. There was a plan to play from the back and mix it up. There was a plan to stop City when they had the ball, not letting them go through the centre. But they didn’t have the courage to take the ball and they let their goalkeeper and centre-backs go long.”
Jasper Taylor is joined by Ben Ransom, Charlotte Marsh and Gerard Brand to discuss the weekend’s footballing action.
PART 1 – Man City beat Spurs in Carabao Cup final | Will Pep Guardiola be the greatest manager ever? | Who should be Spurs’ next manager? | Will Harry Kane stay?
PART 2 – The top-four race | Who has the easiest run-in?
PART 3 – Too little too late for West Brom | A week of protests force change | Hall of Fame predictions