In the wake of Tottenham Hotspur's latest underwhelming display, it was difficult for manager Mauricio Pochettino to contain his anger. Spurs had just frittered away a chance to gain their first win of the season against a Leicester side who, when comparing starts to the season, are streaks ahead of the North London club. The damage? A left-footed thunderbolt from the hugely impressive Riyad Mahrez.
The Algerian's equaliser was the latest occurrence in a highly vexing period for the former Saints boss during which he has seen his side go down to a Kyle Walker own-goal at Old Trafford, fail to beat Stoke at home and struggle in their protracted attempts to lure Saido Berahino away from West Bromich Albion. And although the Baggies striker does look to be on his way to White Hart Lane, Pochettino's problems run much deeper than merely a henchman for Harry Kane.
In a transfer window to test the patience of even the most loyal Spurs supporter, Pochettino has bought a right-back, two centre-backs and an unheralded centre forward. Yes, the arrivals of Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, Kevin Wimmer and Clinton N'Jie have bolstered the squad partially, but Pochettino finds himself in a real dogfight to recapture Champions League football, but unless the club recruits two exciting new players in the closing week of the window, they will struggle to better their fifth-placed finish from the previous campaign.
The problem is that Spurs have looked toothless in their opening three games and the whirlwind excitement days of Gareth Bale now seem a distant memory. Spurs are a club who pride themselves on bold attacking football, epitomised by icons like David Ginola, Paul Gascoigne, Ossie Ardiles and Glenn Hoddle, but somewhere along the way they lost that sense of enterprise and endeavour.
Perhaps it was the scattergun approach to replacing Bale which brought them two highly-regarded talents in Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela from Valencia and Roma respectively. Two years later and Soldado has moved back to Spain after a desperately disappointing return of 16 goals in 76 appearances, while Lamela looks set to follow him out the exit door after failing to adapt to the speed and physicality of the English game.
The departure of those two players only exacerbates a lack of creativity and inspiration up top. Dele Alli impressed during the Leicester game in which he scored the opener and there is excitement over prospect Clinton N'Jie, the 22-year-old speed demon drafted in from Lyon, but the fans will not willingly pin their hopes on such an unheralded duo.
Tellingly, Spurs lacked a cutting edge in the final third against the Foxes without Christian Eriksen, who had been ruled out with injury. His replacement, Moussa Dembele, struggled to shine in the playmaking role, while Nacer Chadli and Lamela failed to incite much enthusiasm among the travelling supporters at the King Power Stadium.
Even last year's shining beacon of brilliance Harry Kane has struggled and if Spurs are to genuinely progress this season, then the 22-year-old striker is going to require a great deal of assistance.
Of course, he will have to return to his scintillating best first. Against Leicester, Kane cut a frustrated figure up top as the need for reinforcements smacked across the forward's exasperated expression. However, Kane himself has been less than inspiring in the first three games, squandering a golden opportunity to put Spurs 3-0 up against Stoke and definitively kill the game off.
Instead, he missed in the most un-Kane like fashion and the Potters hit back with a quickfire double to leave Pochettino seething on the touchline.
The next week is a critical period for the Spurs boss: in an era quickly becoming defined by scraping victories from dishearteningly average performances, the man chosen to bring the club forward and restore a sense of prestige to the Lane faces an uphill battle to stop the vultures from circulating.
Some fans have misgivings that Pochettino hasn't turned out - yet - to be the manager advertised to them. His excellent track record at transforming teams with minimal investment at Espanyol and Southampton was a key quality in Daniel Levy hiring him, but it's clear that this current crop of Spurs players are finding it difficult to effectively deploy his famed pressing principles and tactical ideologue.
"He has an outstanding reputation for his technical knowledge of the game and for creating well-organised teams capable of playing football in an attractive and attacking style," Levy said upon hiring him in May 2014, but has the proceeding year reflected this on the pitch? Not by a long shot and if Pochettino doesn't improve dramatically, he will find himself at risk of going the same way as his predecessors.
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