Tottenham Hotspur require a proactive approach to their first Premier League home match under Jose Mourinho. He spoke to beIN Sports in a post-match interview following his teams defeat to Manchester United on Wednesday. In it, he emphasised the importance of having a good start and the need for a proactive, rather than reactive philosophy in a match.
Tottenham Hotspur Need Proactive Approach Against Burnley
It only took six minutes for Marcus Rashford to squirm a shot past the flailing Paulo Gazzaniga. The Argentinian should have kept it out. Manchester United dominated early on and did for the majority of the first 30 minutes. Dele Alli provided a sublime finish, punctuating a Spurs revival late on in the half.
The players didn’t learn their lesson though, with Moussa Sissoko deemed to have made contact with Rashford hitting the deck. He converted the penalty and from thereon, it was another poor half for Spurs. They attempted to push late on but to no avail.
The key weaknesses in this game were indeed, the reactive nature of the players, but also the avoidable individual errors.
Burnley will visit the Tottenham Hotspur stadium with the chance to move above their opponents in the table. Thus, this match is really one to kick back into gear. Since Mourinho took over, the club have conceded two goals in every single match so far. Needless to say, this must stop. Whilst the goals occurred later in the West Ham and Bournemouth matches in the exact same minutes, this still is inexcusable. Throughout the entire match, there needs to be steely professionalism and a razor-sharp focus.
Mourinho’s teams have been renowned in the past for parking the bus. At the moment, Spurs must be driving a broken-down jalopy with the wheels falling off too often. But, the priority hasn’t been to create those iconic two banks of four. In fact, Mourinho seems keener to sub off a defensive midfielder to create an even more attacking midfield. Clearly he is adapting his ideology to fit the club’s own style of play. However, this team could do with learning a few more moves out of the manager’s playbook.
Starting Eleven Changes Needed
Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko aren’t a good enough combination in midfield. This isn’t to say that the individual players lack quality. Instead, they should be utilised alongside Tanguy Ndombele. The Frenchman was a great investment and has to start in the team. His fitness is still not quite up to scratch, but his ability more than makes up for it.
Lucas Moura has scored once since being restored to the starting eleven under Mourinho. His performances have been varied and he should be rotated against Burnley. In his stead, either Christian Eriksen or Giovani Lo Celso should play. Neither play is able to provide the forward running of Moura, but this attacking overload isn’t needed. Eriksen or Celso can instead provide the creativity to unlock a packed Burnley defence.
The final change that should be considered is in the right-back berth. Spurs legend Paul Robinson has hailed Kyle Walker-Peters and suggests that he should get a run in the team. This is from an interview with Football Insider. Walker-Peters has struggled with injury but has made the substitutes bench under Mourinho. He deserves a chance to show his worth after Aurier’s less than convincing performances. Thus far, Mourinho has favoured Aurier, fielding him further forward. The player has had some success going forward, with a goal and an assist thus far. And, this is no doubt due to his freedom to advance higher up the pitch. However, in defence, he can be all too unreliable. He has a tendency to lunge into tackles, making clumsy errors.
Another issue is his dovetailing with Sissoko. Whilst it can be argued that these players can have good matches together on the right side, it is unhelpful overall. As Chris Miller has noted, Sissoko essentially babysits Aurier when he presses too high or is all too commonly beaten. This then causes the other holding midfielder to be outnumbered.
Tottenham Hotspur Proactive But Solid Approach Needed
Mourinho needs to make some changes in terms of personnel and tactics. The midfield partnership of Winks and Sissoko is ineffective and excludes the superior Ndombele. Spurs looked pretty devoid of any sustained attacking threat for most of the match against United, requiring a change. But, the most important change is for the team to start and finish a match in full control. This may require sacrificing some element of element and joy in expansive football for a more cold and calculated Spurs performance. Burnley may not provide the same threats as Manchester United, but so far, the club are leaking goals at a pace under Mourinho. Thus, Tottenham should aim towards a solid, even if narrow victory at the weekend.
1-0 Tottenham Hotspur.