The morning after the night before can often bring solace and understanding as to what happened.
But in the case of Tottenham Hotspur’s 7-2 shellacking at the hands of Bayern Munich, it suggests things are about to get a whole lot worse before they get better.
Their humbling home defeat was perhaps a little harsh on Spurs, who had led early on and played well against Bayern in the first half. But the way they capitulated in the second half showcased why Mauricio Pochettino has been a surly, uncharacteristically sinister individual in recent months.
Spurs are in big, big trouble.
No away wins since January in the Premier League and just nine victories in their last 28 games in all competitions is a consistent slide which Pochettino seems unable to stop.
Squad harmony has evaporated, as the plucky upstarts tag which drove them on over the past five years has vanished.
These are players now entering or just past their prime who believe they belong in the top four of English football rather than fighting and scrapping every season to prove themselves. That is dangerous.
Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are in the final years of their deals. So too is Christian Eriksen who wants to leave. Danny Rose is on his way out too. Dele Alli has totally lost his form.
That is why this feeling of negativity and disharmony won’t disappear quickly. If anything, it will get worse. Fingers will get pointed at one another. Pochettino will chop and change the time to find solutions. With ever damaging defeat more questions will arise and be asked about letting the likes of Kieran Trippier leave, or why Eriksen wasn’t sold, or what on earth is going on with Alli.
“It’s going to be a tough season, I told you that months ago,” Pochettino said. “After the Champions League final it was a chapter closed and the club need to start a new chapter. This defeat is not going to change my opinion. You need to show your quality like a man first.”
Losing in the League Cup to Colchester United last week was followed up by a gritty win against Southampton after going down to 10 men but the mistakes that Spurs are making in defense are catching them cold and Pochettino just can’t turn around a feeling of things unraveling.
Tottenham seem like a team no longer on the rise but one which has reached its goal of delivering top four finishes for five-straight seasons as they prepared for life in their new stadium. This squad is crumbling after overachieving season after season since Pochettino arrived in 2014.
It has all gone a bit stale for the Argentine coach at Spurs and that drive, that extra edge which knit this upcoming team together is gone.
There are many reasons why that has happened, but what you can’t ignore is that it has been happening gradually since January. Their fairytale run to the UEFA Champions League final papered over the cracks. Pochettino uses that defeat to Liverpool in Madrid as the end of his original project and the start of a new one.
But why did it need to be that way? Because he knew this squad was coming towards, or at, the end of its cycle.
Four of their next five Premier League games are away from home (trips to Brighton, Liverpool, Everton and West Ham are up next) and with UCL games against Red Star Belgrade home and away coming up, this is a pivotal period in how their season will pan out.
In his press conferences Pochettino claims of being treated unfairly and an agenda against Spurs, but he is well liked by neutrals and so too are Spurs.
To see this project hurtling out of control is painful for Pochettino and Daniel Levy, Spurs’ chairman who has put several financial restraints on the club as they moved into their stunning new stadium. A lack of investment and failure to lock players down to new long-term deals has ripped the heart and ambition out of this project.
It can be rescued and there is no need for knee-jerk reactions following a single heavy defeat, but the signs are there that things will get worse before they get better at Spurs. Clearing the squad of players who are no longer committed to the project will take time and whether or not Pochettino has the energy for another huge overhaul remains to be seen.
Especially with Real Madrid and Manchester United glancing over at Spurs’ demise gleefully.
Pochettino has known this was coming for some time. Levy has been ignoring it. And, deep down, most of Tottenham’s fans have been turning a blind eye at the downward trend.
Spurs have yet to hit rock bottom. That’s the most worrying thing about this slump.