If this is Spurs taking the Europa Conference League seriously

Rennes v Tottenham (2-2) | Spurs Come From Behind In France | Europa Conference League Highlights

it’s gonna be a long season but a short campaign.

Spurs first league game in the new League Cup of Europe ended in an away draw to Rennes, which saw more misery for Nuno and the fans.

Nuno put out a pretty strong side for the trip to France, especially with the weekend Premier League game with Chelsea in mind. After an initial good start it descended into the disjointed, clueless displays we’ve seen of late.

Kane, Moura and Bergwijn, were starting up front, three of Nuno’s regulars. None of them would finish the game, two of them looked to go off with injuries. While Ndombele started, playing his first minutes, anywhere, under the new manager. The defence was understudies and Tanganga, who of course isn’t available on Sunday.

Yes, it start OK. Some good play then about 10 minutes in a lovely back heel on the touchline from Ndombele, who was playing like he was trying to make a point – the back heel being right in front of Nuno might have helped – was played on to Kane, who laid it off immediately to Moura, who was off. Straight to the box, Rennes had got players back, so Bergwijn was outnumbered as the only Spurs player there when Moura put the cross in. It wasn’t going to reach the Dutchman when it deflected off the Rennes player past his own keeper.

From there it went down hill pretty quickly.

Disjointed. Lack of creativity. Lack of stringing two passes together. lack of the ball. Lack of shots – it took until the 41st minute for the first one on target. While the hosts had numerous chances, just no one to finish them off.

Bergwijn last just until the half hour, before injuring the ankle that kept him out of the Palace game., Hojbjerg came on which shifted things about a bit. But by then they’d already equalised. Nice build up play, some one touch and one twos, before a a shot from the edge of the box beats Gollini. All nice but all a bit too easy.

The change didn’t really make much change except at one point Hojbjerg had 50% of the shots on target. Which is telling. Very telling. By the time Rennes took the lead in the second half, Kane and Moura had made way, the latter also injured. Spurs had had a couple of chances, a good run from Ndombele and a decent cross from Gil, that Scarlett didn’t connect with. Gil wasn’t that involved and looked like a player who through the league and international break had only played 2 minutes of football, since the ECL qualifier second leg, not far off a month ago.

The lead came from a shot again fairly central, that Gollini saved but parried out to the other side, straight to a Rennes player, evading Davies, for him to bang it home. Fullbacks were a problem. While the hosts were allowed to put crosses and balls into the box by Spurs fullbacks, the delivery from Spurs was awful when it actually happened. What happened to Doherty? One incident summed his Spurs career up. With plenty of space and time, he stopped the ball and lined up the cross before hitting it nowhere near a Spurs player when it bounced off a Rennes head.

It looked like Spurs travails in Europe were following a pattern until an unlikely hero stepped up to save the day. He’d already had one shot on target, so it shouldn’t have been the shot it was when Hojbjerg scored the equaliser just a few minutes later. Which means in season and a handful of games the Dane has 3 goals and 5 assists, while Winks has four of each in this his eight season.

Amazingly it did come from a fullback, a cross from a fullback, after a great cross field ball from Ndombele, Doherty hit a cross, that again didn’t hit a Spurs player, but a Rennes one. He deflected it up and towards goal where Hojbjerg pounced to silence the home support. My didn’t it go quiet.

Shortly after Ndombele departed. We saw the good the bad and the ugly from the midfielder. The good was really good. Calls for him to start against Chelsea were ringing out. Nor surprise after the Palace game but he did go missing a bit, especially at their first goal and he doesn’t look like he’d last in the PL. But anything would be better than Winks.

Well, it wasn’t a loss but the only real plus was it wasn’t a long trip to the outreaches of what UEFA considers Europe…

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