Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs have it all to do in the second leg
After scoring 12 goals in their previous four games, Spurs have managed just a Harry Kane penalty in the quartet since.
And it doesn’t get any better against continental teams after this surprise first-leg defeat to unfancied Gent.
It has left them with a big challenge in the second leg at Wembley next Thursday if they want to make it to the last 16 of the Europa League.
Pochettino sent out a strong side in Belgium but his players flopped in a woeful showing that followed on from their Champions League exit at the group stages.
Beasides a Kane shot against the outside of a post in the 49th minute. Spurs created little.
“Good and bad things happen,” said Pochettino. "We’ve started now a bad period. I hope on Sunday, we break that negative run.”
Tottenham have it all to do in the second leg at home
Jeremy Perbet scored the only goal of the game for Gent
The Tottenham manager was referring to the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Fulham, a clash in which he has hinted he will send out a weakened team.
Kane won’t figure against the Championship side after picking a knock on his knee and Pochettino added: “We need to refresh the team, and we’ll do that.”
Spurs were undone by a goal on the hour by striker Jeremy Perbet after they were exposed down their right flank when they switched to a 3-5-2 formation in the second half.
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Nana Asare was able to release Danijel Milicevic who picked out Perbet, who evaded Ben Davies, to stroke home.
It could, and should have, got worse the 76th minute sloppy play from Toby Alderweireld gifted possession to Kalifa Coulibaly who set up an unmarked Milicevic only for Hugo Lloris to push the shot on the post.
Spurs’ lack of penetration saw ace midfielder Dele Alli threaten to lose his cool.
He was booked for dissent in the 73rd minute and earlier appeared to dive on the edge of the box when challenged by Anderson Esiti.
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He also looked furious when substitute Christian Eriksen ignored his run and shot over and appeared to moan at French referee Benoit Bastien after the final whistle.
“When you lose the game you’re frustrated and you feel all the decisions had gone against you,” said Pochettino.
“It looks like the decisions went against us, but it’s normal.
“It’s true it wasn’t our best performance. The attitude was good. The team tried to win the game. We fought, but it’s true that it was a game that wasn’t our best.”
Tottenham defender Eric Dier admitted it was a night to forget for the visitors but backed them to rectify the scoreline in the return game.
"I don’t think we created enough chances to win,” he said.
“In the first half, they were the better of the two sides but after half-time we were better until the goal. It stopped us in our tracks. We could not get going again. They sat back and we could not get the away goal.
“When you go a goal down, you want to give everything to get back into the game. Maybe we were erratic at times and could have been a bit calmer and waited for our chance. That is something for us to work on.
“I don’t see why we cannot turn it around. This team gave everything against us, we did that but lacked a bit of quality. At home we will be better.”
GENT (4-2-3-1): Kalinic; Foket, Gigot, Mitrovic, Asare (Gershon 80); Dejaegere, Esiti; Saief; Simon (Kalu 74), Perbet; (Couibaly 75), Milicevic.
Subs: Rinne, Neto, De Smet, Verstraete.
TOTTENHAM (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies; Wanyama, Dembele (Son 68); Sissoko (N’Koudou 71), Alli, Winks (Eriksen 80); Kane.
Subs: Vorm, Trippier, Onomah, Wimmer.
Booked: Walker, Alli
REFEREE: Benoit Bastien (France).