There has always been a clear pattern with teams struggling with fixture congestion. The last 2 title winners didn't have European fixtures and got a head start in the league. Koeman's record shows consistency, pragmatism, but with European fixtures it turned into disasters. Under Moyes whenever we had european fixtures we'd struggle more at start of the season and often look threadbare. Plenty of other examples of big managers having major difficulties. United, Arsenal are often considered slow starters, they have lapses of form, moments of panic, but often worked their way back into things.
Spurs got a draw against Real, then thump Liverpool in the league. 2 up in a cup tie against West Ham, end up losing 3-2 and then lose again to United. It's a accumulation of fatigue, physically and emotionally, but then complacency creeps in as you play so regularly, performances in each competition are not disconnected, confidence can drain quickly.
It's a baptism of fire, the last 2 PL winners, then Lyon and then finally a first home game against a young, vibrant Watford in the space of a fortnight. I think if we'd appointed anyone more well established and widely respected, we'd have only been expecting improvements early doors and then results to turn around as you get a team playing, you exit cups and can focus all energy on league, getting wins and climbing table.
When I look at the performances of the players, I think Niasse was trying a bit too hard to make something happen. But the key experienced players in the team have tried to take more authority and have played with more confidence and ambition. Mirallas has looked decent and back to kind of what you expect from him, Lennon deserved to get a pen and while he should have shot, if DCL put it away, it's great play.
When Kenny made the mistake, he wasn't hooked off the pitch and actually he played pretty well and tried to help atone for his error. Beni hasn't looked at all phased by things and has been one of the highlights. Lookman looked more purposeful against Chelsea, DCL has looked more enthused, but a broken nose isn't going to do much for his confidence.
It's a difficult situation to grow a team out of, Koeman made that point. Regardless how much money we have, or who we might buy, we can't replace or buy anyone until at least January. Getting the players producing more of what they are capable of, is at present paramount and the expectation, I see that. Trying to turn individual performances and build a cohesive team is more easily said than done, and the fixture congestion gives a need to rotate that doesn't make job any easier, but we've had more solid structure and ambition up front, arguably a bit too much.