Jose Mourinho’s use of substitutions certainly raised a few eyebrows on Friday night when Spurs took on Manchester United in North London.
The match marked Tottenham’s return to Premier League action after three months away due to the Coronavirus suspension.
It also represented the first piece of competitive action for both Harry Kane and Moussa Sissoko in almost six months, as well as returns from injury for Son and Bergwijn.
With the Premier League appreciating that fitness would likely be an issue after months away from the game, plus an increase in temperature, five substitutes are now allowed per team.
Despite this, Mourinho chose to only use two against the Red Devils, introducing both Lo Celso and Gedson Fernandes for Bergwijn and Lamela. This left the likes of Kane and Sissoko to complete a full 90-minutes on their first game back.
One journalist asked Mourinho whether he would use all five against West Ham during the Zoom pre-match press conference today.
The Spurs boss replied (Football London): “Of course, it was raining a bit, now the weather’s nice – it’s getting warmer. But 8 pm I think will be amazing conditions to play football with that little break in the middle of each half, I don’t think it’s a drama for the boys to play the game.
“Every game is a game, and that game against United is a game where we felt more need to change was just the attacking players because the defensive line was solid and strong. The two central midfielders – Sissoko and Winks – were fit, strong and coping very well with the dynamics of the game.
“Where we felt more we needed to change was the attacking positions, where you need speed. I can imagine that game in that period of 75-80 they were attacking us, open, giving us a lot of space. What you need is not to change players in the four defensive positions where I had lots of strong options – Vertonghen, Alderweireld.
“Then in central midfield, I had lots of options so it depends on the game. But I think this game against West Ham will probably be the first time in the whole season that we have… no, who is injured? We have Tanganga, Foyth – so two defenders.
“Apart from that, everybody is available, ready to play so strong team, strong bench so if tomorrow I have to make changes I have players for every position. The only position I don’t have is right-back because we have only Serge and nobody else because the other options – Tanganga, Foyth – they are both out. Apart from that we have lots of options and are going to be fine to manage the game.”
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