Tottenham have work to do in their Europa Conference League qualifying play-off tie with Pacos de Ferreira after losing 1-0 in Thursday’s first leg at Estadio Capital do Movel.
Nuno Espirito Santo made 11 changes from last weekend’s Premier League victory over Manchester City, with Harry Kane again not involved, and that told in a disappointing display from Spurs.
Lucas Silva fired the Portuguese hosts ahead in the 45th minute and Nuno’s side, who had five full debutants in their ranks, struggled to find any sort of response.
Tottenham did not register a single attempt on target and are now battling to avoid an early European exit when the sides reconvene in north London next Thursday.
Spurs initially started well, with Bryan Gil in particular getting into promising positions, but they failed to register a meaningful attempt in the first half and were behind just before the interval.
The home side steadily built some momentum and Lucas Silva coolly tucked the ball past Pierluigi Gollini when played through on goal by Nuno Santos.
Pacos, who finished fifth in the Primeira Liga last season, came under a little more pressure in the second period, but Spurs’ possession did not lead to any chances being created.
Full-time in Portugal. pic.twitter.com/Netrm406LO
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 19, 2021
What does it mean? Work to do for Nuno’s men
The inaugural Europa Conference League may not be a competition Spurs want to play in, but it does at least present a realistic opportunity to win silverware for the first time since 2008. That is if they can qualify for the group stage, of course, and on the basis of this performance Nuno will surely have to recall some of his big hitters for the second leg. Despite this result, Spurs will still be confident of maintaining their record of never being eliminated from the qualifying round of any major European competition.
New signings fail to shine
The likes of Son Heung-min and Manchester City-linked Kane may not have been involved, but Spurs still included new signings Gollini, Cristian Romero and Gil in their line-up. Gil made a bright start, but did not really have any end product, finishing the match with 62 touches of the ball – the eighth most of any Spurs player – and failing to muster a shot.
Lucas Silva punishes sloppy Spurs
The former Flamengo forward scored what proved to be the winning goal from the one real quality attacking move of the contest, netting from his only shot of the contest. He profited from some terrible Tottenham defending, with Cameron Carter-Vickers keeping the match-winner well onside and none of the defender’s team-mates able to bail him out.
Nuno faces a reunion with former club Wolves on Tottenham’s return to Premier League action on Sunday. Pacos host Estoril in the Primeira Liga a day later.