Paul Merson fears for Nuno Espirito Santo’s job at Tottenham, claiming the manager might just have a game more at the helm in north London.
Nuno Espirito Santo wasn’t exactly the first choice for becoming Tottenham’s new manager in the summer. The north London club failed in attempts to sign other managers and finally settled upon the Portuguese.
The former Wolves boss started to life at Spurs rather brilliantly, beating Manchester City on the opening day of the Premier League season. Two more victories later, Tottenham sat on top of the league table, conceding no goals until that period.
However, things started to descent after consecutive losses to London rivals Crystal Palace and Chelsea. In both those games, Spurs conceded three goals each with no response. Last Sunday, the big blow came against Arsenal in the North London Derby, losing 3-1 at the Emirates, piling the pressure on Santo.
Tottenham faces Aston Villa at the weekend, and another loss would make the Spurs hierarchy notice the situation. In such a crisis, often the manager becomes dispensable and many fear for the Portuguese’ job in north London.
Paul Merson, who, on the one hand, tipped Arsenal to challenge for the top four, has suggested Santo might be walking the tightrope with his job. The former Gunners’ star stated the Portuguese boss might have one more game to save his job, which if he loses, Spurs could sack him.
Merson told Sky Sports, “Spurs were playing like that (counterattacking) last season, but no one was in the crowd, so they could get away with it. I’ve always liked Nuno and thought he would get a top job, but there are ways of getting beat at football, and those players were not running through a brick wall for him on Sunday. And that is where the worry start.
“This (the north London derby) is the fans’ game, the be-all and end-all, and it does not matter how good a manager you are, you can be the best manager in the world, but it is all about the players – do not let anyone tell you it is all about the manager. If the players want someone out, they are out – one more game like that and Nuno is gone, Spurs will not mess about, they can’t have that.”
Like Arsenal, Tottenham have had an adventurous window, signing mostly young players to bolster their ranks. What worked in the first three games for Spurs hasn’t clicked since the Palace clash. However, Nuno might genuinely have only one match to bring his new brand of players alongside those experienced stars to make something good happen.