Tottenham out-Burnley Clarets with Mourinho’s Pragmatic Approach

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Son Heung-Min of Tottenham Hotspur scores (Photo by Jason Cairnduff - Pool/Getty Images)
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Son Heung-Min of Tottenham Hotspur scores (Photo by Jason Cairnduff - Pool/Getty Images) /
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Jose Mourinho Tottenham
BURNLEY, ENGLAND – MARCH 07: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) /

Tottenham Hotspur played the game Burnley forced upon them Monday evening, but still managed to win by finding a way to cope and preserve the mark of a champion.

Three points are three points, Jose Mourinho reminded fans of that postgame noting that the three points earned in the 1 goal win at Burnley were the “same points as 6-1 at Old Trafford” Tottenham had earned a few weeks ago before the break. Noting that this was not a game to score five or six goals facing a team with aggressive strikers and a stout defense. In the end, Mourinho’s tactics paid off as Tottenham Hotspur won ugly, beating Burnley at their own game with a set piece goal.

Different Game Different Opponent

Since the Premier League season kicked off in mid-September, Tottenham Hotspur have played two road games prior to Monday evening, winning by a combined score of 11-3. Those 11 goals scored at St. Mary’s against Southampton (5) and at Old Trafford against Manchester United (6) had fans feeling like every game was going to be a goal fest. However, both Manchester United and Southampton play with a high back line and try out score the opposition.

Burnley on the other hand take a more measured approach, with a deeper back line and a couple big, strong attackers that keep pounding away at the defense. The idea is that eventually through consistent defending on the one end and the long balls on the other, a one goal victory can be had. Burnley certainly executed their plan and nearly to perfection.

Burnley played even more long ball on the evening they had been coming in. As noted in our preview Burnley averages about 75 long balls out of their 400 or so passes each game, slightly under 20%. In the match with Tottenham Burnley only had 364 passes and an astounding 87 of them (24%) were long balls. With that many long balls, Eric Dier – back in and side – and Toby Alderweireld had to be ready, along with the rest of the XI.