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Nuno needs his own ‘Aston Villa moment’ to turn the tide at Tottenham


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f Nuno Espirito Santo needs inspiration to kick-start Tottenham’s season, he should look no further than a win over Sunday’s opponents under one his more successful predecessors.

Pochettino had won just three of his first nine League games and was already feeling the pressure from chairman Daniel Levy when Kane came off the bench to score a last-gasp, deflected free-kick.

At Spurs, ‘the Villa game’ has become widely acknowledged as a sliding-doors moment in the club’s recent history, and the handful of senior players who were at the club then, including captain Hugo Lloris, have genuinely used the example this month as a reason to keep patience with Nuno.

Lloris and Kane, who scored a 19-minute hat-trick last night as Spurs thrashed NS Mura 5-1 in the Europa Conference League, in particular, are mindful of how long it took Pochettino to instil his philosophy and see parallels in Nuno’s own attempts to rebuild.

How Nuno could do with his own Villa moment at home on Sunday, after three consecutive defeats to London rivals have left him under intense pressure.

And as much as a result against Dean Smith’s in-form side, Nuno needs a successful game-plan after his disastrous tactics in the defeats to Crystal Palace and Arsenal.

The challenge for the Spurs manager has quickly become as much about style as substance, in part because he always looked a questionable fit for Levy’s desire to hire an attacking successor to Jose Mourinho and partly because Spurs have looked so dour in his six League games in charge.

Earlier this week, Nuno was asked if he was aware of ‘the Tottenham way’ and the style in which he is expected to play, reflecting the narrative around his stuttering tenure.

Spurs are not only under pressure to start winning but to do so in a more convincing and coherent way than the victories over Manchester City, Wolves and Watford at the start of the season.


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