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Vitesse defeat leaves squad depth in open dispute

When Tottenham started the season, a flurry of late arrivals – the likes of Bryan Gil in particular – were met with genuine enthusiasm. Add that to the growing number of players returning from fitness and the likes of Oli Skipp breaking into the team, and Spurs looked a deeper side than the razor-thin side they had been in recent years. However, nothing shakes reality quite like a second string XI being defeated embarrassingly by Dutch side Vitesse.

The Dutch club are a good side, technically competent and clearly well-drilled. However, they have a team of reclamation projects and players at either the beginning or end of their careers. Budget-wise, they have nothing like the resources of even a Spurs reserve side. Therefore, a deserved win for the Arnhem side on Thursday night was a major wake-up call to the reality of the squad depth that Spurs have.

The fact that nine senior international started in Arnhem sounds good; most of these, though, are either ex-internationals or are not in the picture at present. Gil has earned games for Spain after a breakout season last year, but is yet to truly fire in a Spurs shirt. A shot off the bar was as close as Gil came to turning things around.

Much like a former Spurs coach, Jose Mourinho, Nuno will now know more about his squad depth than ever before. Mourinho bemoaned that he had just thirteen players he can rely upon as his new side, AS Roma, went down 6-1 in Norway. He made the point, though, that now few of those players could legitimately come and complain of not getting regular game time when they produced such a shocking result.

Nuno can feel the same about his Spurs team – how could anyone realistically complain about their position if that is the best they can do?

Can Spurs save their season due to a lack of depth?

Really, all it takes is an injury to someone like Harry Kane or Sergio Reguilon for the club to be back to basics. There are few positions at Spurs with genuine depth, with central midfield one of the few areas with both numerous bodies and good quality players to bring into the side.

This has left Spurs with a tough spot – they might need to dig into the academy now after so many senior players showed they are simply not good enough. It is another problem to solve for a club that feels inundated with issues at the moment.

Not only does the coaching choice feel increasingly incorrect, but there is no real emphasis or desire on the part of squad players to earn a first XI placing. This leaves the club with a highly paid bench who cannot realistically be expected to do the job they are paid to.

How that is solved, nobody knows – it does, though, leave an under-fire manager with an uncommitted looking squad who have taken no responsibility for their own impact on what looks to be a failed season.

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