Darren Bent explains why Spurs can get into defensive trouble if Sanchez does not play

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Darren Bent has claimed that Jose Mourinho considered Davinson Sanchez to be a weak link even before arriving at Tottenham.

Mourinho revealed after his Manchester United side beat Ajax 2-0 in the Europa League final in 2017 that his players were instructed to give Matthijs de Ligt much less time on the ball than the less technically accomplished central defensive partner, Sanchez.

The Tottenham boss is seen joking about the final with the former Ajax defender in the Amazon Prime All or Nothing: Tottenham documentary which covered the 2019/20 campaign..

Bent claimed that Sanchez’s technical limitations and his rash decision making that has seen him struggle to hold down a regular place in the Spurs starting eleven.

The former Tottenham striker told Football Insider: “I’m pretty sure Mourinho said to United, ‘Let him [Sanchez] have the ball.’ He thought he was a weak link. Now he’s working with him.

“He’s got great pace, he’s very powerful. But I think that will only get you so far. If defensively you’re out of position or you’re not a very good one-to-one defender and you’re up against players who are really sharp, you can’t have them bully you.

“You’ve got to be a little bit more patient with your defending. Sometimes Sanchez doesn’t do that. But we already know that.”

Bent claimed that the only reason Sanchez has been getting some minutes is due to the lack of pace of some of the other members of the Tottenham backline and insisted that it is a problem that Mourinho will be looking to address in the future.

He added: “The reason he has to play there at centre-half is because they lack real pace. Eric Dier’s has done very well and we know how good Toby Alderweireld can be, but he is getting on in age.

“So if you don’t play Sanchez in there, that’s a real lack of pace, and that can get you into trouble.

“It’s a situation that Mourinho is going to have to address. They have good defenders but the game is about pace nowadays and if you haven’t got much of it you’re going to struggle.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Sanchez’ raw talent was obvious as soon as he arrived at Spurs but there were always question marks about his rash decision making and his tendency to lose concentration. I was hopeful that the centre-back would be able to eradicate those mistakes as he gained more experience but that simply has not proven to be the case. He seems just as erratic and mistake-prone as he was three or four years ago, which is why I suspect that he will be sold in the summer.

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