THE last thing you need after gallbladder surgery is a kick in the guts – but that’s exactly what Antonio Conte got.
And the most painful thing of all for the Spurs boss, back on the touchline after his two-game absence?
It was basically delivered by his own men, with a performance so pitiful they should have carried white flags to go with their white shirts.
They were shoddy, they were shocking and they were shameful… and all that after being a goal to the good inside five minutes as well.
Yes, Leicester were imposing and impressive. And true, their finishing was as crisp and clinical as you will see.
But to be honest, the Red Lion second XI could have stuck a couple past such a slapstick Spurs outfit.
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Woeful doesn’t even come close, as Nampalys Mendy, James Maddison, Kelechi Iheanacho and Harvey Barnes helped themselves to goals.
By rights it should have been more, as well. Had Barnes not strayed a big toenail offside, he’d have had another for a start.
How ironic, then, that the first defensive slip had been by the men in blue shirts, not white, on a crazy afternoon.
Rodrigo Bentancur, the one Spurs man to play anything like his best before he limped off midway through the second half, scored it after two quickfire Ivan Perisic corners.
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The first flicked off centre back Harry Souttar, cannoned into Victor Kristiansen and flew over, but Leicester weren’t so lucky from the second.
Again Perisic delivered, again it glanced off a head – this time team-mate Ben Davies – and again it found Kristiansen.
The Danish defender’s right boot was facing the right way to clear, but the ball skewed back across goal and Bentancur couldn’t miss as he prodded in from bang in front.
Mind you, against such an inept shower as this Spurs lot, Leicester had little to worry about.
As we all discovered when the game turned on its head with two goals inside three manic minutes.
As with the Spurs opener, the first stemmed from a flicked-on corner, Timothy Castagne rising highest to meet Maddison’s delivery.
Bentancur was on the spot to head off the line as it looped over Fraser Forster. Stays of execution don’t come much briefer.
For as the ball rolled to Mendy on the right angle of the box, he unleashed an absolute rocket which flew into the top corner.
Forster would have done well to reach it had he been in the ideal position. Yet when the keeper swayed to the left to get a clear sight of the ball, he never had a prayer.
Not the most auspicious moment for the giant keeper. And not the best of omens for Spurs, who will rely on him for seven or eight weeks as Hugo Lloris recovers from a damaged knee.
Having said that, Forster didn’t exactly get the best protection from his pals. Spurs were like footballing traffic cops, all but directing their opponents towards goal.
And with Tottenham still reeling from Mendy’s mega-strike, they were carved open again. Initially, it should be said, after a tackle from Wout Faes that was as brave as it was brilliant.
The Belgian was already on a yellow card, so his thundering challenge to rob Harry Kane on halfway had to be spot on or he was off. It was, and arrowed to Kelechi Iheanacho.
He had all the time in the world to slip it to Maddison, free on the left of the box, and the Foxes star slipped it under Forster.
On the touchline Conte spun round to face his assistant Christian Stellini, arms outstretched in a "what the f*** is going on" gesture. Anybody’s guess, was the answer.
Surely they would learn from their clangers, if nothing else. Yet it’s Spurs we are talking about here, so what do you think?
Exactly… and bang on half-time their backline went from blundering to all but non-existent, as they were carved open for a third time.
All it took was one long ball down the middle from Souttar which picked out Iheanacho, albeit still close to 40 yards from goal.
Yet no-one came to challenge, Eric Dier backed off and backed off… and Iheanacho waited his moment to curl a low shot into the bottom corner.
The Nigerian looked almost bemused with his arms-outstretched, stroll-away celebration. It was that easy for him, and that woeful from Spurs.
Forster saved some face by blocking a strike from Barnes, who had a field day against Pedro Porro down the left, before his disallowed effort.
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But third time lucky and all that… and nine minutes from the end Barnes produced a carbon copy of Iheanacho’s earlier strike to find the corner.
Nurse, the oxygen mask please… Mr Conte appears to be feeling very faint.
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