Spurs, not Wembley, to blame for Champions League defeat
Tottenham's Champions League future is out of their hands after defeat to Bayer Leverkusen at their second home
Spurs 0 Bayer Leverkusen 1
Spurs are on the brink of a humiliating exit from the Champions League after another home defeat at Wembley. Kevin Kampl's strike midway through the second-half condemned Tottenham to their second consecutive defeat at their temporary home and they now lie third in Group E, two points behind Leverkusen and four shy of leaders Monaco.
Their fate is now beyond their control but they can't afford to lose either of their remaining matches, away in Monaco (who won at Wembley in September) and then home to CSKA Moscow, who last night lost 3-0 to the French side.
The Wembley crowd of 85,512 - a record Tottenham home crowd and a record attendance for a Champions League home game in England - arrived in anticipation of a win for the hosts. Leverkusen are tenth in the Bundesliga and prior to Wednesday night had won just twice in 24 Champions League away matches.
Yet it was Tottenham who failed to rise to the occasion, the Lilywhites lacking the energy and inventiveness that turned them last season into credible Premier League contenders. The absence of the injured Harry Kane deprives them of a cutting edge up front but there are still enough quality players in the Spurs squad to compensate for his loss.
Instead it was Leverkusen who looked the sharper of the two sides from the off with former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez a constant threat to the Spurs defence.
The goal, however, came from an unlikely source and in strange circumstances. Charles Aranguiz's second-half shot at goal deflected first off Ben Davies and then Kyle Walker, before falling into the path of Kampl, who swept the ball past Hugo Lloris.
Spurs were stunned into action, finally threatening their opponents goal but an Eric Dier free-kick that rattled the crossbar was the nearest they came.
It was too little too late and the final whistle heralded a cacophony of cat-calls as the home fans made clear their displeasure with another disappointing display in Europe.
Asked at the post-match press conference if the change of venue was to blame for their poor form in Europe, an irate Mauricio Pochettino replied: "You cannot blame Wembley. Wembley for me was fantastic, but we need to show more. We were poor again, we need to find answers in ourselves. We need to be critical. We were the problem, not Wembley."
Admitting the display from his side was "embarrassing", the Tottenham manager added: "It's a shame. We have to look at ourselves... we were very disappointed we didn't show quality."
And Pochettino has no doubt about the importance of the trip to France on 22 November. "We must win in Monaco," he said. "If not, forget the Champions League. We need to improve and we don't have too much time. We need to be critical and put ourselves in front of the mirror and say: 'Come on we need to improve.' To find the answer is inside us and that is very important."