Matt Doherty and his Spurs teammates were handed a harsh lesson in European football last night as they crashed to a humiliating 1-0 first-leg defeat in the Europa Conference League to Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira.
It was a sobering night at the office for a Nuno Espirito Santo side who came into the game off the back of a stirring 1-0 win over Man City last weekend in the Premier League.
Granted, this was a much-changed Spurs side from that win over City. They could not, however, replicate that win as their defensive naiveite was punished against a plucky Portuguese outfit.
To put the defeat into context, Pacos de Ferreira lost their second-leg tie in the Europa Conference League to Larne FC. They would, however, win the tie 4-1 on aggregate.
And with that in mind, a Spurs side, who crashed to defeat against that same side who lost to Larne only last week, came in for some heavy criticism.
Along with the likes of Harry Winks and Ben Davies, one player who was the target of criticism was Irish international Matt Doherty.
On 90min.com, Doherty's performance was described in very blunt fashion.
The kind of performance that will have reminded Nuno while he sold him in the first place.
So disappointing going forwards and it felt like he misplaced everything he touched.
Football.London were just as scathing of the Dubliner with their player ratings, giving him a 5.
Lacked quality with his passing and crossing from the right early on.
Didn't make much of an impact. 5
And the London Evening Standard would pull no punches either, giving him the same score in their player ratings
Put in one good cutback which Gil squandered, but did not do enough from wing-back to leapfrog Japhet Tanganga in the first XI.
Matt Doherty Comes Under Fire For Poor Performance
And it wasn't just in the media circles where Doherty came under fire. Spurs fans took aim at him on Twitter.
Harry "bleeds Tottenham" Winks
Ben "was good in 17/18" Davies
Cameron Carter Vickers
Just terminate their contracts and leave them in Portugal.
— Tiago (just Tiago this time) (@tbasquesthfc) August 19, 2021
NEED to be sold:
Deadwood and not good enough for us. We can get funds to replace these players with better quality with our director Fabio Paratici at the helm.
— Ethan⚜️ (@thfcem28) August 19, 2021
Matt Doherty is a championship level player
— Ryan Clay (@RJClay95) August 19, 2021
I can comprehensively say that Matt Doherty is the worst footballer I have ever seen play for Tottenham.
— 𝕄𝕒𝕣𝕜📍 (@MarkTHFC7) August 19, 2021
While his manager Nuno Espirito Santo would not take aim at individual players, he did admit that his side was 'not good'. That's one way of putting it.
"Not good, not good," he said. "First half we lost too many passes – and the goal came from that, we were imbalanced. But not a good performance, honestly not a good performance.
"We need players to get minutes in their legs and increase their levels of fitness. But of course things take some time, it was not so good…
"As a team we were not organised enough and did not play the ball fast enough to break a team that was really compact and did not allow many spaces."
While Doherty doesn't seem to be at risk of losing his place in Stephen Kenny's Ireland squad over one performance, he may want to improve his own form, especially with a number of Irish players impressing in the Championship and League One at present.