ANTONIO Conte was left frustrated after his Tottenham Hotspur side failed to conjure the decisive moment that would have delivered victory and left them in a strong position in Champions League Group D.
A point was satisfactory in the context of the group but after seeing his side squander a succession of good opportunities, Conte will believe it should have been more.
The Italian’s side were guilty of a lack of precision and quality in the decisive areas of the pitch as they failed to win for a seventh successive European away game although the manager will take satisfaction from a improved all-round performance.
Conte opted to start with the same side that faced Arsenal in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat with Emerson Royal again included at right wing-back despite his dismissal in the north London derby. Tottenham’s display in the game prompted criticism of Spurs’s approach, triggering an angry reaction from the head coach in the build-up to this game.
The manager defended his methods and insisted the outcome at the Emirates Stadium would have been different had his side taken more care when presented with a number of attacking opportunities in the game. The opening half against Frankfurt told a similar story although Spurs’s overall performance was far more convincing than their weekend display.
Conte’s side showed a willingness to press higher up the field and while they were almost caught out when the home side did manage to apply pressure on Hugo Lloris’s goal, Tottenham became more convincing as an attacking force as the first half progressed without managing to make the breakthrough.
They should have forced the lead in the 12th minute when Son Heung-min delivered an excellent cross after a well worked free-kick but neither Cristian Romerro nor Harry Kane could make sufficient contact to turn the home from close range.
Son was again the provider midway through the half after his dummy had created the space for him to receive a pass from Richarlison. If the South Korea international had taken more care with his cross, Kane would have had the routine task of finishing into an empty net but insisted the ball; flashed across the face of goal.
Yet while Tottenham looked threatening on the break, they also appeared vulnerable to a counter-attack. Frankfurt broke rapidly with Lloris forced to clear from well outside his box on a number of occasions. And the home side were also unfortunate not to find a way through when they troubled Lloris and his defenders with a succession of corners.
It was Conte’s side, though, who looked the more assured and were entitled to wonder how they had reached the interval without taking control of the game. Kane once again came close to scoring when he turned well on the edge of the area but pulled a foot shot wide.
Kane, Son and Richarlison were linking well in the final third, and a clever flick by the England international freed Son 18 yards out. The forward had time and space to direct his shot inside the post but sent his effort wide. And when Ivan Perisic saw his effort deflected wide immediately before the break, there were growing concerns Spurs might pay the price for their wastefulness.
Conte was entitled to feel frustrated that his side had failed to get a single effort on target despite having six attempts on goal. And the pattern was maintained in the opening stages of the second period.
Son and Richarlison were again guilty of spurning good opportunities while at the same time Frankfurt appeared to gain renewed confidence. Conte was increasingly animated on the touchline and eventually ran out of patience with Richarlison’s inability to find the right weight of pass, replacing the Brazilian with Bryan Gil but they were unable to make the breakthrough.
Trapp 6; Tuta 6, Hasebe 7, N’Dicka 7; Jakic 6, Rode 7 (Pellegrini 72, 6), Sow 6, Knauff 6; Lindstrom 7 (Ebimbe 87, 6), Muani 5 (Borre 57, 6), Kamada 6.
Grahl, Ramaj, Smolcic, Alidou, Alario, Chandler, Lenz,.
Lloris 6; Romero 6, Dier 7, Lenglet 5 (Davies 78, 6); Emerson 8, Hojbjerg 7, Bentancur 6, Perisic 6 (Sessegnon 72, 6); Richarlison 6 (Gil 79, 6), Kane 6, Son 6.
Forster, Austin, Doherty, Skipp, Sanchez, Salvatierra, Spence, Sarr, Bissouma, White.
D Orsato (Italy) 6