Weakened Spurs must attack Inter to kill off tie

Posted by Dan Fitch

The trouble with winning runs is that they have to come to an end. When they do, there's not much else you can do but dust yourself off and try to build another one.

Next up for Spurs is the away trip to Inter Milan. Such is their lead from the first leg, that a second successive defeat would not necessarily be a disaster.

- Whittaker: The odds are against Inter

Tottenham can afford to lose by as many as two goals, but to sit back and try to defend their lead would be a mistake. Inter will have to push forward; leaving plenty of space on the break, but the question is whether Spurs will have the personnel available to capitalise.

Gareth Bale is suspended after picking up a booking in the first leg, while Aaron Lennon is an injury doubt. If both players are missing, then it poses some difficult questions for Andre Villas-Boas.

Moussa Dembele was impressive on the right of midfield against Liverpool, but was sorely missed in central midfield. Tottenham lack cover for Bale and Lennon. It looks as if the decision to loan Andros Townsend to QPR has backfired. Yes, he's picking up vital experience at Loftus Road, but he'd be getting games at Spurs right now.

With the likes of Clint Dempsey and Emmanuel Adebayor also fighting for fitness, Villas-Boas has few options in the attacking third. He has claimed that Lennon should be fit for the trip to Milan and he’d better hope that he is.

Without Lennon, Villas-Boas has the option of playing Dembele on the right flank again, employing either Kyle Walker or Kyle Naughton further forward, or most radically, to go with three in central defence and employ wing-backs. If Lennon is out, then the latter may be the best option.

Spurs also need a better performance from Jermain Defoe, particularly if he carries the main burden of giving the team some pace on the break. Even aside from the error that threw the game away against Liverpool, Defoe had a poor game. He didn't look particularly fit, which is a big concern when Dempsey and Adebayor are still doubts.

Tottenham had teenage striker Shaquile Coulthirst on the bench against Liverpool and he may well be needed against Inter. This is a player who has impressed in the Next Gen series, scoring a hat trick away at Barcelona. Even so, this is a huge step up for someone so young and it's worrying that Spurs might have to call upon such an inexperienced figure.

There's no point in going back and discussing why the club didn't buy another striker in January (or the summer), mainly because it's too depressing. It was reckless, as has been the decision to let so many players go out on loan. What's strange is that the club can be so cautious and sensible when it comes to finances, yet take huge gambles in leaving gaping holes in the squad.

With so many ifs and buts regarding the team selection, it's hard to have much of an opinion as to how the game will play out. Regardless, I find it hard to see Inter coming back from three goals and it will only take one from Spurs to completely kill off the tie.

That's why Tottenham have to be confident, whatever their lineup. There will be chances. Let's not forget how completely Spurs outplayed Inter in the San Siro. The quarterfinals surely await.

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