Micah Richards has admitted that he could not understand why Jose Mourinho opted to leave Matt Doherty on the bench and start Moussa Sissoko at right-wing-back against Brighton on Sunday.
Mourinho made major changes to his backline for Tottenham’s trip to the Amex after his side’s poor defensive display against Liverpool.
The Portuguese coach stuck with a back three but he left Eric Dier on the bench and started with Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sanchez and Joe Rodon in defence.
While Ben Davies started at left-wing-back, Mourinho opted to put Sissoko on the right ahead of Doherty, while Serge Aurier did not even make the matchday squad following reports of a fall-out with Mourinho at half-time against Liverpool.
When asked about Aurier’s absence, the Tottenham boss insisted after the game that it was a technical decision and stated that he was pleased with Sissoko’s display but Richards believes that Doherty would have been a much better fit for the role.
The pundit said on the Monday Night Club on BBC Radio 5 Live Sport: “What I don’t understand is that Spurs played with a three at the back.
“I know he has done well in a wide right role, at times. More with a four at the back and four in midfield.
“But you have Matt Doherty sitting on the bench there. What’s going through his mind? I could understand if they were playing a four at the back.
“At Wolves, he played wing-back and he was very effective from the wing-back position. It wasn’t just Spurs looking at him. Loads of teams were looking at him.”
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One can argue that Doherty did not deserve to play on the back of his poor performance against Liverpool and Mourinho was trying to send him a message by leaving him out. However, I do believe that Doherty has been treated harshly since arriving in the summer.
He was signed to be more of a wing-back than a right-back but the fact that we managed to get Sergio Reguilon meant that he had to learn a more defensively disciplined role, which is why he lost his place in the side to Aurier. He started on the left-hand side against Liverpool and you could tell that his confidence was shot to pieces as he looked scared of making mistakes.
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