Tottenham’s starting team today was comprised of five natural centre backs, including Japhet Tanganga, Davinson Sanchez, Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld. Now that’s taking Jose Mourinho’s park-the-bus philosophy to a new level.
Jose didn’t line five centre backs up across the back in a linear fashion, but he might as well have. Tanganga couldn’t make any forward headway on the right, pinning the youngster back for most of the first half, while Jan Vertonghen had slightly more joy getting up the flank on the left. Vertonghen at least knocked a few balls into the opposing penalty area.
Having five centre backs on the pitch obviously leaves vulnerable other areas of the pitch. Tottenham’s midfield in the first half was almost non-existent, with Tanguy Ndombele and Oliver Skipp being left to their own devices. Neither player could gain a foothold in the first stanza. Mourinho obviously made the decision to prioritize the Champions League second leg at Leipzig on Tuesday, invariably affecting this evening’s team selection.
Mourinho deserves credit for changing the side at the break.
At least Spurs stopped the bleeding, ending their four-match losing skid. They can take many positives from a well played second half, and will hope that injects the confidence they’ll require to turn around the one-goal deficit in Germany on Tuesday.