Former Tottenham Hotspur number one, Paul Robinson, has claimed that Jose Mourinho is already laying the groundwork for next season with his team selections and tactics, as the Spurs boss does not think finishing in the top four this year is a realistic goal.

Tottenham find themselves nine points behind Chelsea in fourth place with just seven games to go, meaning the Lilywhites would likely require a near-flawless run until the end of the season if they are to have a chance of pipping the Blues to a top-four finish.

Tottenham are yet to concede a goal in open play since the restart and have enjoyed a solid return of four points from two matches.

However, unfortunately for the Lilywhites, the likes of Chelsea, Wolves, and Manchester United, who are rivalling them for Champions League qualification, have also made fast starts.

Robinson believes the fact that Mourinho is leaving Spurs’ best defender in Toby Alderweireld on the bench, is proof that he is nurturing the Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez partnership for next campaign.

When asked about Jose’s choice to start with the pair at centre-back, the former England goalkeeper told Football Insider: “It would appear that is what he wants to go with.

“He has had a fully fit squad to choose from and he has left Vertonghen and Alderweireld on the bench for both games and Alderweireld is the best defender at the club.

“Sanchez and Eric Dier is a pairing he is giving time to ahead of next season.

“Mourinho has been brought in to build a winning team and squad and he needs to be given time to do that.

“Fourth-place is out of the question for them so he is building towards next season which will come very quickly.

“It is clear that Sanchez and Dier are his preferred two.”

Spurs Web Opinion

All teams will likely have an eye on next season given the limited break that clubs have after the end of this campaign. However, there is no chance that Jose would have given up on our top-four ambitions. Alderweireld has been benched because he has not been in good form since signing a new contract a few months ago. Dier and Sanchez have put in two excellent displays so far and I expect them to keep their places in the side.

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