ANTONIO CONTE will hardly know where to start when he gets back into work on Sunday.
The Italian has a lot of cleaning up to do having missed five games as he convalesced following gall bladder surgery.
PAAdama Traore sunk Spurs on 82 minutes to lift Wolves to 13th place[/caption]
ReutersTraore is mobbed after nicking victory for Julen Lopetegui’s men[/caption]
A season that had promised much even if his side’s football has been consistently off – colour, is threatening to fall apart.
The Wolves sub struck eight minutes from the end, producing a brilliant scissor kick volley after Fraser Forster had parried a strike from Raul Jiminez.
It was a finish fit to win any game and lifted Julen Lopetegui’s side to the heady heights of 13th after a campaign that before the Spaniard arrived looked in danger of ending in relegation.
But it left Tottenham and no doubt their returning manager on a serious downer.
His first job, surely, will be to lift them for Wednesday night’s bid to rescue a Champions League quarter final spot after a 1 – 0 first leg defeat to AC Milan.
Yet he will be deeply worried that a slide that could not have happened at such a critical moment in the season, could see them ultimately give up their top four place with fifth – placed Newcastle United now only four points behind with two games in hand.
Conte’s No 2 Cristian Stellini made five changes from the side that slumped to that dismal 1 – 0 defeat at Bramall Lane.
Richarlison, Lucas Moura, Pepe Sarr, Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez were benched as Conte’s No 2 searched for a quick hangover cure.
He will have believed that any side selected, no doubt on advice from Conte, would improve on the performance against the Championship promotion hopefuls.
Within those changes was also the cameo of Clement Lenglet replacing Dier, not because the England centre back had been any worse than any of his colleagues in South Yorkshire.
But he is suspended for the Milan showdown and this clash offered a chance for the Frenchman to bed himself in alongside Ben Davies and Cristian Romero.
But finding a rhythm not only in preparation for that clash but in enhancing qualification for next season’s elite European competition was tough.
For the first have was punctured by a successions of injury stoppages.
The longest – and certainly the most worrying for Diego Costa and his Wolves boss, was the 27th minute clash with Oliver Skipp.
The former Chelsea warlord landed in a heap, clutching a knee and found himself stretchered off.
Even someone as battled hardened as him couldn’t hold back a few tears as he departed.
Tottenham did hard to shake off those Bramall blues.
Dejan Kulesevski blazed over a fifth minute opportunity and not long after forced Jose Sa into a fine save, the goalkeeper diving low and right to claw away the curling strike.
But Harry Kane, back from being rested against the Blades, struggled to have any real influence throughout
He barely got a meaningful touch in the opposition box, frequently isolated from his front – line partner So.
So much was familiar about the display before the break.
A suggestion of a lack of bravery with the ball, a reluctance to deliver concise passing.
Yet Son still found Ivan Persic with a beautifully-flighted free kick – except that Sa was on his near post to parry the header.
Pedro Porro thought he had broken the stalemate six minutes into time added on and the style of his free kick deserved a celebration.
APMario Lemina foils Spurs striker Harry Kane on a frustrating afternoon for the visitors but they remain fourth in the Prem[/caption]
But the right wing back’s effort smashed against the bar.
Three minutes after the break Son was suffering the same disappointed.
With a little of the swagger of that has been missing for weeks, he sent sub Nathan Collins to his right then thumped a left footer that that also cannoned off the bar.
Yet Tottenham were still living dangerously.
Adama Traore, who had also come on for Mario Lemina, fired over a startling cross from the right.
It was met by Costa’s replacement Jiminez just ten yards out but Forster reacted spectacularly to the what was all but a point – blank header to block.
Spurs shook that fright off against the relegation strugglers and Porro, direct and enterprising, latched onto Kulesevski’s pass 20 yards out and forced Sa into more crucial work.
The classiest player on the pitch, however, was Ruben Neves and he took centre stage as the Wolves captain got the smell of blood..
Twice inside 60 seconds he demanded Forster’s full attention with howitzers from just outside the box – then tried one more time, this one just missing the goalkeeper’s fingers and the bar.
He was involved in the build-up that had the home fans in the Sir Jack Hayward Stand sucking the ball into the net.
But Mateus Da Cunha froze at the crucial moment, slicing wide of Forser’s left hand post.
Which is something Traore very much did not do with the goal that lifted his side a precious three points closer to safety.
While that hangover Tottenham had tried to shake off? It descended again, only this time so much worse.