Hugo Lloris 3/10 for putting Spurs on the back foot against Barcelona
A slick Barcelona, inspired by a sensational performance from Lionel Messi, outclassed a weakened Spurs and ran out deserved 4-2 winners. Tottenham, though, were in part the architects of their own downfall, with Hugo Lloris gifting the Catalan side the opening goal inside two minutes. A superb volley from Ivan Rakitic doubled the scoreline, and at the interval Spurs looked dead and buried. In the second half, Tottenham twice threatened an unlikely comeback with goals form Harry Kane and Erik Lamela to make it 2-1 and 3-2, respectively. An unlikely draw briefly looked possible (and with a better referee might have been achieved) before Messi put the game to bed.
A second-half performance, with Kane and Lamela to the fore, in which Spurs upped their game and briefly rattled Barcelona. Toby Alderweireld was also the one rock in a shaky defence.
Spurs learned the hard way that you can't gift sides as talented as Barcelona easy goals with careless mistakes. Something Tottenham managed to do twice. Lloris, coming back from a drink-driving incident and injury, also had a game to forget.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Mauricio Pochettino played a weak hand about as well as he could. With four key players injured, Pochettino's team selection was limited, leaving Spurs struggling to compete in the midfield and chasing shadows for long periods of the game. The lack of depth in the squad -- something that has been a concern ever since Spurs failed to sign any players in the transfer window -- told when it came to substitutions. Expecting Fernando Llorente or Moussa Sissoko to influence the game was like praying for a miracle.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Hugo Lloris, 3 -- A catastrophic error of judgement, rushing unnecessarily off his line, gifted Barcelona the opener inside two minutes, and Spurs never looked like regaining their composure. Almost made the same mistake in the second half but was rescued by Alderweireld.
DF Kieran Trippier, 7 -- Kept Barcelona quiet down their left flank for the most part and managed to get forward more in the second half. Put in some threatening crosses but couldn't pick out the killer ball.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 5 -- Looked seriously unnerved at the prospect of containing Messi, and for the first 60 minutes looked like an accident waiting to happen. Was then switched to the right side of the defence and looked more comfortable.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 8 -- Though deprived of his longtime partner, Jan Vertonghen, at the centre of defence, Alderweireld put in an immense shift -- often covering for other people's mistakes. Was moved to nullify Messi for the final 30 minutes and Spurs immediately looked more secure.
DF Ben Davies, 7 -- Spent most of the first half taking care of his defensive duties but became more adventurous as Spurs chased the game in the second half. Struggled to link with an out-of-form Son Heung-Min but was far happier when Lucas Moura was switched to the left.
MF Victor Wanyama, 6 -- Given a rare start due to Tottenham's injury crisis and looked seriously out of his depth -- admittedly against a world-class team -- for much of the game. Looked relieved to be substituted midway through the second half.
MF Harry Winks, 6 -- Given a start due to Christian Eriksen's injury and struggled to make his presence felt in the first half as Barcelona passed the ball both through and around him. Came into his own more in the second 45 with an improved performance.
MF Erik Lamela, 8 -- One of the few players who wasn't overawed by the occasion and consistently harried away at the Barca defence. Is finally becoming the player Spurs always hope he would be and capped his display with a deflected goal.
MF Lucas Moura, 7 -- Started brightly with a few telling runs down the right but then faded out the game for the rest of the first half. Switched to the left at the break and was instantly more effective. Almost conjured an equaliser with a nice run, but his shot was blocked.
MF Son Heung-Min, 5 -- Disappointing. Spurs had hoped his direct running would upset the Barcelona defence, but his first touch was poor throughout and he was frequently caught offside. Was substituted midway through the second half.
FW Harry Kane, 8 -- Along with Lamela and Alderweireld, one of the few player to stand up and be counted throughout the full 90 minutes. Held the ball up well, creating openings for others, and took his goal with the composure of old.
MF Eric Dier, 7 -- Spurs looked more solid in midfield with Dier's arrival on the pitch. However he is still some way off his best and has a tendency to slow down play.
FW Fernando Llorente, 5 -- Thrown on more in hope than expectation. Poor first touch and failed to offer any attacking threat.
MF Moussa Sissoko, N/R -- An accident waiting to happen. His first touch was to hit a tricky chance way over the bar. His last was to gift Barca their fourth goal.