Spurs woes continue with humiliating 2-1 loss to Aston Villa

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Spurs woes continue with humiliating 2-1 loss to Aston Villa

Son Heung-min reacts after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa in London on Wednesday. [AFP/YONHAP]

Son Heung-min reacts after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa in London on Wednesday. [AFP/YONHAP]

 
Tottenham Hotspur’s woes continued on Wednesday as a 2-1 loss to Aston Villa in the final week of the season threw even their chance of reaching the new third-tier Europa Conference League into question.
 
It was yet another lackluster performance on Wednesday, as Spurs managed to cancel out their only real offense — an early goal from Steven Bergwijn — with an own goal from Sergio Reguilón.
 
All Aston Villa had to do was score one of their own, which came from Ollie Watkins in the 39th minute, to take the match to 2-1, then hold on to win.
 
Spurs’ final home game of the season was  as flat and uninspiring as anything the London side has been able to offer this year, but the addition of the own goal — a bizarre volley over the goalkeeper that was presumably intended to be a clearance — turned yet another disappointing performance into a comedy of errors that left fans still booing in the stands 45 minutes after the game had finished.
 
Spurs now sit in seventh place, just holding on to a chance to play in Europe next season, although in the new third-tier conference league, not the Champions League or the Europa League.
 
That spot isn’t even guaranteed, with Everton in eighth on goal difference alone and Arsenal just one point behind in ninth. If Spurs don’t beat Leicester City on Sunday — and beating the fifth-place club at their own stadium seems pretty unlikely at this point — then there’s a very good chance even the third-tier European league will be out of their reach.
 
Wednesday’s loss casts even more doubt on the future of the club, and in particular star forwards Harry Kane and Son Heung-min’s future there. 
 
The latest reports suggest that Kane wants out and Manchester City are interested. Persuading the club to let him go won’t be easy, but top-tier clubs tend to eventually release publicly disgruntled players.
 
Son seems likely to follow suit, with the same issues that bother Kane — the failure across all competitions, lack of support and inconsistent management — also impacting the Korean star. Both are world class players and international captains and both expect to play at that level.
 
Probably the only thing that could keep the Spurs squad together at this point is a new manager, but Wednesday’s loss highlights just how difficult it is going to be for the club to recruit someone of the caliber the players and fans want.
 
The world’s best managers want to join clubs where they can make a difference, with a serious shot at some serious silverware. A 2-1 loss to a lower-ranked team with an own goal thrown in for good measure suggests Spurs are not that club.
 
BY JIM BULLEY   [jim.bulley@joongang.co.kr]
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