Slumping Spurs turn to Europe for confidence

LONDON • Tottenham host Slovenians Mura in the Europa Conference League today looking for a confidence boost after a slump in form, while their former manager Jose Mourinho takes his free-scoring Roma side to Zorya Luhansk.

Spurs kicked off the Premier League season under new boss Nuno Espirito Santo with three straight 1-0 wins, but have since suffered three straight losses, conceding nine goals in the process.

The tame defeats by Crystal Palace (3-0), Chelsea (3-0) and Arsenal (3-1) have raised questions about Nuno while Harry Kane is goalless in five league games since failing to force through a close-season move to Manchester City.

But Tottenham captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has backed his new boss and has asked fans to be patient with the Portuguese.

"For any manager, it's not easy to change everything in one or two months - it's impossible," he told the London Evening Standard.

"But he's bringing his ideas and, step by step, he's building his relationship with the players. As a team, you need to build something and then arrive at a certain maturity to compete with the best. At the moment, we're in a process."

Spurs are also in need of points in the inaugural Conference League after opening the group stage with a 2-2 draw at Rennes.

Anything other than a victory against Mura, fifth in the Slovenian top flight, would see Nuno and his side come under more scrutiny before Sunday's Premier League game against Aston Villa.

Spurs, without a trophy since 2008, parted ways with Mourinho shortly before last season's League Cup final loss to Manchester City.

But the Portuguese has enjoyed a strong start to life with Roma, despite suffering a 3-2 loss to Lazio in last week's derby clash.

Often criticised by Tottenham fans for his perceived negative style of play, Mourinho's Roma have scored 24 goals in only nine matches this term. He will be looking for a reaction from his players against Ukrainian side Luhansk, though, after railing against refereeing decisions in the Lazio loss.

  • 9

    Goals Tottenham have conceded in their last three matches.

Mourinho, a two-time Champions League-winning coach, now finds himself managing in the far less glamorous third-tier Conference League. But Roma sent out a statement of intent last time out in Europe as they beat CSKA Sofia 5-1.

In the Europa League, in-form West Ham host Rapid Vienna today and Leicester visit Legia Warsaw.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2021, with the headline 'Slumping Spurs turn to Europe for confidence'. Subscribe