Leaving no time to reflect fully on our defeat in Manchester, Burnley come to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this Saturday afternoon.
Wednesday was abysmal and disappointing in roughly equal dimensions. Some weak goalkeeping, some slapdash defending, an unbalanced and overworked midfield and an absent attack. Dele’s genius goal and all round skilful display apart, there was little to suggest that Mourinho is anywhere near getting to grips with this side.
Two goals have been conceded in each of his four games in charge thus far. Barnes and Wood will fancy their chances of adding to that tally and giving Sean Dyche the opportunity to ruffle Jose’s hair at the final whistle.
So what can be done? Change the personnel and/or change the tactics is what.
What can be done at this moment in time and with the resources available is a more difficult question to answer.
Pochettino’s go to central midfield (in his diamond formation) was Sissoko and Winks. We assumed it was for pragmatic reasons but it’s not taken long for Mourinho to end up relying on the same pairing to give us a solid foundation and being similarly disappointed. It’s time for an extra body in there in my opinion. Dier or Ndombele perhaps.
It’s also time for Lo Celso. His quick feet and angled passing will give us a momentum we’re nowhere near achieving otherwise.
I think we need to build a base that will help us control games and not just encourage chaos hoping that we’ll come out on top.
Burnley are 12th and are having an up and down season. Their previous reputation for meanness at the back has disappeared, they have conceded three and four several times most recently on Tuesday against Man City. They still rely heavily on Ashley Barnes for goals, and to be fair, he often delivers.
In midfield Dwight McNeil continues to earn praise otherwise Brady, Cork, Hendrick and Aaron Lennon (!) don’t strike much fear in to the hearts.
Dyche v Mourinho is a classic Premier League encounter in many ways. Gravelly voices Northerner versus moneyed sophisticate. Both men are under different kinds of pressure so we shouldn’t expect a classic.
A good result for us depends so much on sorting our defence out. Do that, and stop this run of conceding goals, and Dele, Harry, Lo Celso and Son should be able to do enough to get us the win.
Kevin Friend is the referee.
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