Alan Shearer has revealed that he is still “bemused” that Tottenham’s boss Mauricio Pochettino fielded a weakened team in their Champions’ League group stages last season.
The north London club crashed out of the group stages of Europe’s elite club competition last season as Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen progressed ahead of them.
Tottenham then dropped down to the Europa League, but were eliminated by Gent in the last 32.
Tottenham will get another chase at the Champions League this season and have been drawn alongside Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia.
Alan Shearer insists Pochettino’s side now need to start taking Europe more seriously and trying to win the Champions League.
The pundit still can’t believe that Tottenham rested against Monaco last season, something which ultimately sealed their exit from the competition.
“I am still bemused as to why Mauricio Pochettino sacrificed Spurs’ chances by playing an under-strength team in the group stage in Monaco last season,” Shearer wrote in the Sun. “They had a league game against Chelsea the following weekend and he was clearly prioritising that. They went out of the Champions League and lost to Chelsea in any case.
“Watch again the reaction of those players when Didier Drogba converted the winning penalty in the shootout [for Chelsea] and tell me the bread and butter of the Premier League is what is all important. Important, yes, very, but the Champions League is another level and it is time our players recognised that. The coaches certainly do, or they should.”
English teams have suffered in the Champions League during recent years and haven’t had a representative in the final since Chelsea won the competition back in 2012.
The club will get another chance to make an impact in Europe this season, with the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli eager to prove themselves at the highest level.
However, the Argentine boss side have been drawn in a very difficult group alongside current champions Madrid.
Shearer insists that the Spurs should play their full-strength squads in the Champions League and this week will present the opportunity to see where Spurs’ priorities are.
Tottenham host German outfit Dortmund on Wednesday in their opening group stage in Europe, before they face Swansea just three days later in the league.
Alan Shearer is right saying that English teams have massively under-achieved recently in the Champions League and Tottenham are not the only team to line up the Premier League. Clearly, securing a top-four position gets you into Europe’s prestigious competition and the financial gains are huge for clubs.
However, surely one must go all out to compete against the very best once you get into the competition. The English sides currently participating in the Champions League should copycat Real Madrid and try getting close to their level.