Kenny Cunningham explains where Spurs went wrong as they exit the Champions League

Ex-Ireland defender reacts to how Tottenham failed against Monaco

Tottenham, Harry Kane

Tottenham Hotspur Harry Kane appears dejected after the final whistle. Picture by Adam Davy EMPICS Sport

Kenny Cunningham believes Tottenham players looked tired and lethargic as they exited the Champions League at the group stage with one game to spare.

In contrast to Leicester who advance from one of the other groups, Spurs succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of AS Monaco as they failed to repeat their run to the 2010-11 knockout stages this time round.

And speaking after the game, ex-Ireland defender Cunningham pointed out the manner of the performance.

"They went out with a bit of a whimper. I was really kind of disappointed with the overall performance. I was expecting a lot more. It was a must-win game," he said on Off The Ball.

"It just didn't happen. It was a very lethargic, disjointed performance from the Spurs team. It almost looked a tired performance. If you hadn't have known that it was taking place at this time of the season, you would say 'is this happening in March or April' where the players have played 30-40 games with a bit of physical fatigue creeping in.

"The game was very open, very loose, a lot of individual errors around the pitch and in the end deservedly beaten." 

Kenny also noted tactical shortcomings in terms of the shape Mauricio Pochettino went for in midfield, also highlighting the second Monaco goal as an example.

"By going to the diamond shape in midfield, which funnily enough was what [Ireland] experienced for the first 20-25 minutes against Austria, it leaves you very isolated and open down the sides and Monaco took real advantage of that," he said.

"That's where both of the goals came. They got real penetration down the sides and got crosses into the box and Spurs just didn't defend their penalty box well enough." 

And on the wider consequences for Tottenham, Kenny sounded a note of warning.

"It's the first time I've put a question mark against the mentality and character of the group as a whole," he said.