As he sat in the directors’ box, the Tottenham manager, Mauricio Pochettino, was surveying all-too familiar territory. Not so much the stadium he left behind, apparently in tears, for north London in 2014. More the well-trodden ground of a Spurs implosion.
With one Premier League point accrued from their last possible 12, Pochettino’s side have sunk from title contenders to also-rans.
This run of relegation form has put Champions League qualification, something that looked a cast-iron certainty a month ago, suddenly in jeopardy. And, in the St Mary’s media room, Pochettino did not hold back in his analysis of what a third defeat in four matches meant, not just for his side’s prospects, but for the club’s future direction.
“That is a clear example that we are still not mature enough,” he told Talksport radio. “When you talk a lot and when you find a lot of solution, it’s only one way, it’s to try to change, making different decisions that’s from the past.
“Of course, maybe that is our limit. It’s a little bit sad, but maybe we need to start to think that we need to operate in a different way from the start of next season.”