I was looking for some signs against Olympiakos that Tottenham have progressed as a team since reaching last season’s Champions League final, but I did not really see any.
Spurs will be delighted to get a point from an eventful 2-2 draw but, although they avoided defeat, it was not the kind of composed performance their manager Mauricio Pochettino
will have wanted to watch.
Their remarkable run in this competition last year relied on last-minute goals and drama, right from the very start when they dragged themselves out of despair after it looked like
they would be going out in the group stage. It was a brilliant achievement, but it’s much better to avoid being on the brink in the first place by making your pathway a bit easier, and
they did not really manage that here.
Yes, this was a tricky way for them to start out in Group B, with the heat in Piraeus, a hostile home crowd, and an Olympiakos side that was dangerous and full of attacking intent.
But the best Champions League teams are able to deal with that sort of scenario by keeping possession and playing at their own tempo, to take the sting out of the opposition and
silence the crowd.
For various reasons, Spurs never did any of that well enough on Wednesday night.
I think the lack of control they had right through the game is what Pochettino will be most disappointed about, because having that is the next step that he knows they have to take
if they are going to have sustained success in Europe.
Spurs surrender possession cheaply
While Olympiakos impressed me, Tottenham definitely made life difficult for themselves.
It was disappointing to see how careless they were in the opening minutes, when there were two or three occasions where they gave the ball away cheaply.
But even though they were lacking urgency and looked lethargic, Spurs still reminded us that they have lots of quality in their side.
One of the reasons they ended up getting so far in the Champions League last season was because, when they got an opportunity, they were able to take it.
It was the same against Olympiakos, and in the early stages Tottenham’s superior finishing was the only difference between the two teams.
Their opening goal came from a penalty after a defensive mistake but Harry Kane’s spot-kick was still delightful, and Lucas Moura’s strike a few minutes later was world class.