It was humiliating. A shocking performance in which we showed very little energy and no fight whatsoever. The lads looked drained and, in all fairness, the 5-0 scoreline didn’t flatter Spurs in the slightest. A break in fixtures looked urgently required, and thankfully that is just what we’ve now got.
Many fans, including myself, will of seen our departure from the FA Cup as a kick in the teeth. Another opportunity to win a trophy wasted, if you like. However, I now believe that our exit from this competition may prove crucial if we are to ever realise our ambitions of European football. After all, but for our failings against Brighton and Hove Albion we would have today played away at Anfield against Liverpool. A match that would have surely required a full strength starting XI and proved excruciating on the legs of our already exhausted stars. Thankfully, though, that isn’t the case.
What we must now do then, is use our exclusion from the FA Cup wisely by getting some well deserved rest. Which is why I was delighted to hear that Alan Pardew has given the lads this weekend off in order to recuperate in whatever way they believe best. Hopefully then, this will prove to be just what the doctor ordered and the players will return to training on Monday morning reinvigorated and hungry to right those wrongs that were so clearly on show against Spurs.
Add to that the return of recent absentees such as Yohan Cabaye (suspension), Cheick Tiote (ACON) and Ryan Taylor (injury), who have all been very big players for us this season, and we once again have a first team capable of competing with the best. This should also provide the rest of the players with a well needed lift and may even help to galvanize our squad back into the well drilled unit that we were so accustomed to watching during the early stages of our Premier League campaign. Should that happen, who knows where we could finish this season?
Our next two fixtures, in my opinion, are both very winnable games. First up, we meet a currently managerless Wolves at home on Saturday, which is then followed by another home outing against local rivals Sunderland on March 4. Should we use our disappointing performance against Tottenham as motivation to improve in these outings, then we may find ourselves generating some very important momentum that could help us surge towards a top six finish and that all important place in Europe.
With Arsenal and Chelsea stumbling at every given opportunity, even a top four spot may not be out of the question, but for now, we must rest.