Tottenham need more life in attack if they are to hurt a wounded Manchester United

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 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

A generous interpretation of an uninspiring affair at Turf Moor was that Tottenham kept it tight, stayed patient and eventually got their just rewards to restore a measure of confidence and progress to the Carabao Cup quarter-final.

You might even describe their performance in the 1-0 win on Wednesday night as “gritty” or “professional’”.

Certainly Spurs were deserved winners but, really, they did not offer enough against an abject Burnley to suggest they are capable of increasing the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when Manchester United visit north London on Saturday.

Lucas Moura’s well-taken goal was the difference and if Harry Kane or Giovani Lo Celso had been more clinical Spurs would have won more comfortably.

Nonetheless, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side managed to complete consecutive halves without testing the opposition goalkeeper following their failure to muster a shot on target after the interval in the 1-0 defeat by West Ham and they must show more life in attack to take advantage of a wounded United.

Solskjaer’s side will be fragile following their 5-0 humiliation by Liverpool and a high-tempo, aggressive start in front of their fans would surely see Spurs expose cracks in the visitors.

The problem is that Nuno’s Spurs have only very fleetingly looked capable of producing that kind of suffocating football – notably in the first half of the defeat by Chelsea – and their lack of creativity remains a real concern.

In 11 matches under the Portuguese against Premier League opposition, Spurs are yet to win by more than a single goal, and a total of four shots on target against the Clarets offered little reason for encouragement.

“We need to improve on this point, to finish actions more [often],” acknowledged Lucas, who called on his team-mates to show more individual brilliance.

“Sometimes we need to show our talents more individually, that is what I tried to do when I came on last night. I tried to create some opportunity and create some space but it was good. We were solid and didn’t give them any space and we could have scored some more goals.”

More spark from Kane and the support cast would be welcome, and the England captain endured another frustrating night at Turf Moor, twice squandering chances in the first half.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Individual brilliance will only get Spurs so far, though, and they remain a team short of cohesion as an attacking unit. They are few discernible patterns of attacking play and little evidence of the partnerships that characterised Jose Mourinho’s reign. These shortcomings ultimately come down to Nuno’s work on the training pitch.

Spurs look like a team waiting for a lucky break or a piece of individual quality in the final third.

The return of Heung-min Son to the XI against United will make a difference, particularly as the South Korean and Kane showed flashes of their record-breaking partnership in the games against Newcastle and the Hammers.

“It is always difficult to keep doing the same thing,” Lucas said of Kane, who played a part in the goal before Emerson Royal crossed for his compatriot, and also set up a chance for Lo Celso.

“I am sure he will get back to his best soon. He is working hard, fighting hard and is very important for us.”

A positive for Nuno was the resolve of his defensive unit, as Spurs withstood a spell of late Burnley pressure, with Royal, Cristian Romero and Davinson Sanchez impressing.

Spurs have tightened up since their run of London derby defeats in September and no longer look likely to ship goals. Their challenge now is to start scoring them.

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