After reaching the final of the Champions League last season, Mauricio Pochettino spoke in the summer of a new era for Tottenham Hotspur, starting in 2019-20.
After four new players were acquired in the transfer window, hopes were high among Spurs fans that participation in the biggest game in club football would be the start, not end, of a period of success.
However, this season things have not panned out as Pochettino or the Tottenham supporters would have hoped or expected.
Most of the fans are very disappointed not just by results but also how their side is performing.
With Spurs sitting in the lower half of the Premier League, not many of the Best Soccer Betting Sites pundits will be placing bets on the North London side to finish in the top four. And how could they, when they see something is not functioning right, week after week.
A tepid performance in a 1-1 home draw against newly promoted Sheffield United at the weekend marked another example of lost points, with the team’s confidence seemingly at rock bottom.
One player’s showing in particular summed up just how far Tottenham have fallen since the early days of the Pochettino era, where they were fearless and on their day unplayable.
Eric Dier got a rare start at centre-half for Spurs, with the England international deputising for the injured Jan Vertonghen and rested Toby Alderweireld.
It is fair to say that the Pochettino favourite will have done little to enamour himself to his manager or stake a claim to be a regular starter after the international break.
Dier was booked for a clumsy challenge within the first two minutes of the game, was guilty of giving the ball away on numerous occasions and looked woefully short on self-belief.
His positioning and reading of the game was way off and Sheffield United’s attackers took advantage of a naive showing from the 25-year-old.
Pochettino brought Dier to Tottenham from Sporting Lisbon and once tipped the versatile enforcer to become England’s best central defender once he had matured.
The Spurs boss also allowed him the opportunity to play as a midfield anchor, simultaneously opening a pathway into the England national team.
Dier embodied a brave, hard-working and steely Tottenham side in the early days of the Pochettino regime – he quickly became a favourite among the supporters as a result.
However, his current lack of confidence is a classic example of just how Spurs have regressed this season.
For whatever reason, boundless energy has turned to lethargy. Insurmountable belief has been replaced by doubt. Accuracy is now carelessness.
Pochettino has a massive job on his hands to get Tottenham back firing on all cylinders and the squad that he has compiled singing from the same hymn sheet once more.
For Dier, showing the leadership and determination from his early days at the club once more would make his manager’s job that little bit easier.