By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Graeme Souness claimed Tottenham badly missed a wise “old head” in midfield in their crushing 1-1 draw against West Brom on Monday night.
The result virtually ended Spurs’ hopes of beating leaders Leicester to the title, with Claudio Ranieri’s side seven points clear with just three matches remaining.
The Londoners took a first-half lead thorough a Craig Dawson own goal but West Brom pushed hard for an equaliser from the start of the second half and got their reward when the same player scored at the other end after 73 minutes.
A below-par Tottenham hit the woodwork three times but their performance was far removed from their convincing recent wins over Stoke and Manchester United.
Mauricio Pochettino has the youngest team in the Premier League under his command but TV pundit Souness is convinced they were made to pay for their lack of experience.
“That game was turning from the first minute of the second half,” the former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football programme afterwards. “I’m looking at the midfield and that is the perfect place to sense that.
“Tottenham continued to play the same way and were too easy to play against. West Brom looked like they had an extra man at times.
“That was the perfect game for an old head sitting in central midfield saying, ‘okay guys, it’s slightly changed, this game’. At no time did they do anything slightly different to grab the game back from West Brom.
“It was a game for an old head to say, ‘wide players, just play a bit narrower, full-backs, don’t go raiding all the time, let’s just dig in a little bit’ and they didn’t do that.
“You’re looking for a five, 10-minute period where you have to dog it out a little bit. Instead I thought, watching that second half as a slight Tottenham fan, that they weren’t going to win that tonight.”
The result leaves second-placed Spurs’ title hopes in tatters with just three matches of the campaign remaining.
Leicester will win the Premier League for the first time in their history if they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford at the weekend.
In other Tottenham news, the next Eric Dier could be at White Hart Lane next season.