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Tottenham Hotspur’s Fringe Players Labour to Victory in North Macedonia


On a night when Tottenham Hotspur’s fringe players got the chance to show Jose Mourinho what they can do, some failed to perform. Serge Aurier came in to the side along with Dele Alli who wasn’t in the squad against Southampton in last weekend’s Premier League clash. Nonetheless, despite the few disappointing performances, it was a night of Spurs progression in the Europa League after a 3-1 victory over KF Shkendija

Tottenham Labour to Victory in Macedonia

Serge Aurier and Dele Alli

When you are dropped and get the chance to show why you should be in the squad, you have to take that chance.

Serge Aurier continues to be linked with a move away from the North London club and in North Macedonia he looked like he was already elsewhere. There was a moment in the first half when Joe Hart put the ball out of play. Aurier was not happy, but rather than getting on with the game, he turned his back on the ball whilst his opponents were in possession. At schoolboy level, managers would be yelling at the players to get on with their job.

In the second half, Jose Mourinho could clearly be heard berating the Frenchman to cut out the sloppiness in his play and stay focused.

Dele Alli got constant words in his ear from the Portuguese manager as well, also asking him to concentrate. Apart from one run and shot in the first half of the game, Dele Alli was poor. He gave the ball away too often and offered little as an attacking threat. His lack of game time means his lack of sharpness is unsurprising. This was a game to show Mourinho that he still has a part to play. The fact that he was hauled off after the hour mark was a sign that the manager was far from impressed.

The Resurgence of Tanguy Ndombele

Ndombele, in contrast, looks much happier in his work. He played the full 90 minutes which is a huge bonus for Spurs. He was good on the ball and in the second half worked hard tracking back and making important tackles at decisive moments. Whereas Alli and Aurier very much had the proverbial fleas in their ears, Ndombele was getting praise from his boss, who was clearly impressed by his resurgent performance.

Progress for Tottenham

Tottenham ran out 3-1 winners in the end with Son Heung-Min, Erik Lamela and Harry Kane getting the goals against a spirited, but, ultimately, inferior side in KF Shkendija.

Tottenham now play at home against Maccabi Haifa and if they come through that game unscathed, they will progress to the knock out stages of the competition.

Before that, Spurs face Newcastle United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Premier League where it is unlikely Serge Aurier or Dele Alli will be making appearances after tonight’s unimpressive display.

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