Who can blame Harry Kane for wanting out at Tottenham after this abject defeat to Villa? He deserves better

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 (Pool via REUTERS)
(Pool via REUTERS)

A sombre-looking Harry Kane trudged around the pitch at full-time, applauding each corner of the stadium after a Tottenham performance which underlined exactly why he wants to leave the club in the summer.

It looked and felt like a goodbye from Kane, and who can blame him for wanting out of his boyhood club?

He deserves better than this, an abject 2-1 defeat by Aston Villa which left Tottenham’s European hopes hanging by a thread.

They could now finish as low as ninth if they are beaten by Leicester on the final day of the season, and below rivals Arsenal.

A place in the inaugural Europa Conference League is now also a realistic possibility, which may ultimately be a worse fate than missing out on European football altogether.

There was nothing in this Spurs performance to convince Kane that it would be worth persevering with the club (although with three years remaining on his contract he may ultimately have no choice).

Spurs were wretched in their lack of intensity, organisation and effort, and their only moment of real quality was a cracking goal from Steven Bergwijn to open the scoring after eight minutes.

From there, it was all downhill, particularly for Sergio Reguilon, who endured a nightmare evening and was most culpable for Villa’s turnaround before half-time.

First the Spanish left-back comically sliced into his own net from Marvelous Nakamba’s cross while under absolutely no pressure, before he twice lost possession in the build-up to Ollie Watkins’s winner.

Spurs marginally improved after half-time but never enough to really threaten a Villa side who have long since had nothing to play for.

Spurs now must beat Champions League chasing Leicester on the final day and hope other results go their way to avoid a humiliatingly low finish.

Toxic atmosphere underlines fracture between fans and club

What should have been an evening of celebration as 10,000 supporters returned to the stadium for the first time since December ended with the most toxic atmosphere witnessed at this ground.

After the final whistle, many fans stayed in their seats, chanting against chairman Daniel Levy.

“We want Levy out” and “we want our Tottenham back” were both easily audible from pockets of supporters, while others chanted “sixty-quid, you’re having a laugh” and “we want our money back” in reference to the ticket prices for the match – the highest in the Premier League for the final round of fixtures.

Many fans seemed to think the players would be returning to the pitch for a lap of honour after only Kane, Dele Alli, Heung-min Son, Gareth Bale and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had stayed out to applaud fans and the rest of the squad had gone straight down the tunnel.

Soon, the tannoy began encouraging fans to leave but many stayed put, continuing to vent their frustration at Levy and the ownership. There was scuffle between some fans and stewards in the South Stand.

Eventually, and perhaps at the behest of the club, the players did re-emerge when only a very small number of the 10,000 fans remained.

The atmosphere lifted and there were chants for Kane, Bale and others.

But the prevailing mood of the night was of anger and frustration.

It could scarcely have been more different from the scenes on the final day at White Hart Lane, when supporters stormed the pitch and a thread of unity seemed to run through the club, from boardroom to terraces.

Now, the connection between fans and their club is utterly broken and serious questions need to be asked about how and why that has happened.

Bergwijn offers another glimpse but missed will weigh heavy

Bergwijn scored his first goal since the 1-1 draw against Manchester United here in Spurs’ opening game of the restart back in June.

The Dutchman has effectively played through the entire pandemic’s worth of football matches without scoring, despite being a regular under Jose Mourinho from the start of the season until mid-December.

His opening goal here was similar to the strike against United, a pure and instinctive finish, hammered into the roof of the net.

There have been enough of these moments from Bergwijn – his debut goal against Man City was another – to suggest there is a quality player there, who could be a real asset given confidence, coaching and consistent appearances.

After half-time, however, he squandered Spurs’ two best chances to get back in the game, twice firing straight at Emi Martinez.

Given the season he has had, those misses are likely to weigh heavy on Bergwijn but his thunderous strike was perhaps the only hint of positive from a dismal evening for the club.

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