Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Levy Falls Further Than Ever Away from Target

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Levy Falls Further Than Ever Away from Target

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse

TOTTENHAM 1

BENFICA 3

DANIEL LEVY is one of the most inscrutable men in football yet it is easy to imagine his mood as he watched Benfica dismantle the team he has helped to build.

Barring a sequence of results that would have bookmakers running for the hills, there will be no European trophy for Tottenham this season, nor Champions League football next. Nor, if recent events are any guide, will there be any in the following campaign.

Spurs talk every year about finishing in the top four, but what is the plan to do so next term, assuming it cannot be achieved this? What will be the expectations upon the new manager, if Tim Sherwood is replaced? What if the new man arrives and tells Levy it might take two seasons, perhaps three, to build a side capable of joining Europe's elite? What will be the role of technical director Franco Baldini? And will Levy, the compulsive deal-maker, take a step back and allow the man he employs to nominate the players he wishes to sign? You want answers to those questions? Good luck with that. It is possible that even Levy himself is still working on some of them. Holland coach Louis van Gaal is held in high esteem at White Hart Lane and could succeed Sherwood, yet it is very difficult to form an impression of how Van Gaal's Tottenham, or that of another coach, might look.

Spurs' uncertainty and lack of direction on the pitch against Benfica seems to reflect the situation off it. The last Tottenham player to leave the field, Christian Eriksen, was shaking his head as he walked down the tunnel. The gesture, and the Dane's bewildered expression, summed up the feelings of many a Tottenham supporter.

Want to know how far Tottenham are from challenging the continent's best? Consider this: even though they were unfortunate, Benfica still failed to qualify from their first-round group in the Champions League, in which they were edged out by Olympiakos. …

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