Tottenham Hotspur played a friendly to knock off some rust on Friday against Motherwell, and we learned a few things about Spurs in the process.
The match was far from an actual game that would count in the record books as players wore numbers like it was the preseason. Djed Spence and Dejan Kulusevski were wearing numbers seven and ten. While the duo is not Heung-min Son and Harry Kane – Spurs regular seven and ten – they played well and should have turned a few eyes. The play of Kulusevski, in particular, was one of several takeaways from Spurs friendly win over Motherwell.
Kulusevski was the best of the bunch on Friday
It was a friendly against the ninth-placed team in the Scottish Premiership, but that did not matter, as it was a chance to play and improve. In the process, Dekki showed that even if there is no Kane or Son, Spurs still have a game-winner up top.
Kulusevski was alert and ready from the off, scoring just minutes into the match, anticipating and intercepting a back pass before finishing for the game’s first goal.
Beyond the goal, Kulusevski was a consistent threat up the right channel; whether the ball was coming from Spence on the wing or Yves Bissouma in the middle, Kulusevski was splitting the defense and attacking the goal. Dekki’s persistence paid off with a couple of assists, including one off a corner kick, which is something Spurs need to remember.
Yes, he was the best player on the pitch, but he also played like it, and that is a good thing for Tottenham Hotspur and Kulusevski.
Doherty is not done with Tottenham yet
Another standout was Matt Doherty, who managed a brace on the afternoon. His first goal demonstrated excellent composure as he cut from the left back onto his favored right foot before slotting calmly past the keeper. Matt’s second goal came from a header on a Kulusevski corner, showing Doherty’s nose for the ball.
Besides the two admirable goals, Doherty showed his versatility as a player. The Irishman started on the left side as a wing-back and then moved into the right-back position in the second half. The ability to play in several places with some calm on the ball should get Doherty more minutes as the season progresses.
Spurs will be made to pay for sloppy play
Although the final score was 4-0 in favor of Tottenham, it was not a perfect game for Spurs. Brandon Austin and Davinson Sanchez were caught sleeping, which almost cost the team.
First, Sanchez was laboring on the ball near midfield and ended up being dispossessed. Fortunately for Sanchez and Spurs, Spence hustled on the play and won back possession before anything bad could happen. However, neither Sanchez nor the team can rely on someone backtracking, and players cannot be caught in possession in their half.
Austin’s mistake was in a much more dangerous position, but he got away with it like Sanchez. Austin was a bit slow to clear a back-pass and almost deflected it into the goal, missing only a few feet. As the third-string keeper, it was not the kind of play Austin wanted on tape, and one hopes he and everyone on the team learned from it. When in doubt, boot it out.
Ultimately, it was nice to see Spurs back in action, even in a friendly, and even nicer to see some good football and a win, although things can always be better.