If Conte takes the plaudits he has to take the blame

Spurs struggle to break down 10-man Saints! | Southampton 1-1 Tottenham | Premier League Highlights

and he owns this one.

Spurs managed to stay unbeaten for the the seventh time in the league under Conte, meaning he’s the first Spurs manager to go unbeaten in his first seven league games but that’s all he can take from the draw at Southampton.

We all know the foreign coaches don’t like the festive period, when games come thick and fast – if they come – haven’t we all heard enough of them whinging about it, and we know that you have to manage your resources during this period.

And that’s what Winks presence in the starting XI looked like. An ah, well, it’s only Southampton, we can get away with resting players and picking him here. It looked the same for Dele.

From the off, Spurs were off it. Against Palace a couple of days earlier, they started slowly and got into things with two quick, well, taken goals, before the petulant, child tart Zaha got himself sent off. The goals came from one touch passing forward. Here, it was all going backwards and sideways. And we all know why.

Winks is a cancer. He weakens the team and he infects the others around him. It was no coincidence that the central three were lying too deep. It wasn’t Southampton’s attacking. It was the knowledge they’d have to stay back to take his numerous, needles, cowardly, back passes. So, when he wasn’t losing the ball he was knocking it back to the likes of Dier, in his own area.

Nearly the whole afternoon was spent going backwards. Hell, was there even a throw in that went forwards. The Southampton goal came from a Spurs free-kick that went backwards. From there it ended up with a long thrown and a clear route for Ward-Prowse to hit the opener. Winks was stood in the box, marking no one, doing nothing.

But the easily please ooze over two balls forward. The first lead to Son being taken down and Spurs’ opposition being reduced to 10 men in the first half, for the second game running.

With a two goal lead against palace, they cruised through the second half. With Kane equalising from the penalty spot, they huffed and puffed through the second 45 minutes. There was no real one touch, triangles, one-twos. It was all too many touches, sideways, sideways, backwards.

Conte didn’t help with his substitutions either. Reguilon went off at the break, due to his yellow card. Looking like he wanted another, knowing that the ref would be looking to even things up as well, itw as the right decision. Bringing Doherty on to play left wingback, wasn’t. Every time he got forward, he cut back, got the ball on the only foot he should any intention of playing the ball with, his right and passed it sideways or more often backwards.

With them down to 10, was a back three required? If it was, then why not put on another centre-back, from Tanganga or Rodon, both of whom were on the bench, and move Davies to the wide position? On the few occasions the Welshman got forward he at least tried to get a cross in and caused problems. Doherty was just a waste.

Dele staying on for the hour was also a waste. The promise of his previous outing forgotten with a performance like so many over the last few years. trying to do too much and too much in tight spots.

So Winks played a ball over the top that Kane was just the slightest bit offside for, when he took it brilliantly and “scored” brilliantly. You just knew it would be chalked off, I mean this season, if he was onside he wouldn’t have scored it. But wow a forward ball from Winks, I can just imagine the fanboys creaming themselves, getting 8/10 in the media reports.

Gil’s introduction looked initially like it could lead to the breakthrough but very quickly he succumbed to that which surrounded him. At the start it was first time crosses. Then it came touch after touch, turn, cut, turn, stop, then cross.

Of course when a chance did come there was this huge thing in the Southampton goal. Christ, his head must be twice that of Dier’s. But even this huge lump is given a free ride by the ref, when he dropped the ball and back-heeled it into his own net.

For all that Conte has brought since his arrival – they run about a bit more – he has to won this one, these lost points were on him…

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