Opinion: My thoughts on Spurs’ win, Nuno’s style, Dele, Sanchez, and more

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Harry Kane Nuno Espirito Santo
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Tottenham made it two wins from two in the Premier League yesterday and, while the points are great, I wanted to dig a little deeper into the performance, tactics and talking points… bear with me.

Let’s start with Harry Kane. He was back on the bench and played for around 20 minutes. Even those who want him out will have to admit, we looked a lot better with him out there, even at the expense of Son. You just can’t replace world-class quality, even though Kane isn’t fit.

His calmness on the ball, his creativity, the way he holds it up and brings others into play. Having not signed another striker, I think with 8 days to go until the window shuts, Tottenham need to keep this man at all costs. It seemed like he got a good reception out there too.

Spurs’ performance before he came on was a little concerning. It reminded me slightly of early Mourinho when we didn’t mind the defensive breakaway football because we were winning. That changes when the results change. I’d like to see Nuno be more progressive as time goes on.

The solid shape that suited the Man City game was a little restrictive against a more front-foot past-paced team like Wolves. Let’s be honest, on most days, we don’t keep a clean sheet there. It’s early season, but definitely something that stood out nonetheless.

It seemed to be a return to normality for Davinson Sanchez. Consistency has always been his weak point. If a winger, even Traore, gets past a full-back, you want the security of knowing your centre-back can step out and deal with it. Sanchez didn’t know if he was coming or going yesterday.

I know it’s hard against Traore and others struggled too, like Tanganga. But Sanchez is a senior player now and I just don’t feel safe with him at the back like I used to with Toby and Jan. If we have to sell one centre-back this summer, I just can’t see past him, unfortunately.

Moving on to Dele Alli. It seems to me that Nuno is trying to develop him into a 90-minute engine in that midfield three. Dele is capable of tracking and pressing for an entire game, while also joining the attack when Spurs are dominating possession.

While I still believe his best role is just behind the striker, a throwback to peak Pochettino times, this could be Dele’s resurgence under Nuno in a three-man midfield. If he is willing to work hard and stay focused, it could be a huge year for the midfielder. Keep it up.

A quick word on Lucas Moura. I just think the difference between a chalk on the boots right-sided Moura and a central Moura is night and day. I want to see him driving down the centre of the pitch, winning fouls and making chances. He was anonymous yesterday stuck out right.

Bergwijn is improving game by game this season and I hope he gets a good run in the team. Everything up to the final pass/shot is perfect. The fitness, effort levels, pace, pressing, it’s all great. If he could finish that one vs City and square it to Dele yesterday… perfect!

I know Son was probably carrying something yesterday, but I still argue he is not a lone central striker. Time and time again, he struggled with balls chipped into his head or holding the ball up to bring others into play. A second striker alongside a centre-forward or left-wing for me.

I think there is a glaring hole in the current Spurs squad, and that’s a playmaker with killer vision. An Eriksen, I suppose. We need one of those midfielders or wide two to be able to get their head up and find consistent passes into goalscoring areas. We do not have that at the moment.

Eight days left of the transfer window, I still think we need a striker, another centre-back, a right-back, and a playmaker. We won’t get all four now but surely a couple of new additions are on the way. If Paratici and Levy can manage it, I would be very happy with this squad.

In terms of quickly covering other players. Dier was solid bar that one run up the pitch. Reguilon was defensively naive at times but a real outlet. Hojbjerg and Skipp were neat and tidy. Hugo was class and his long-range passing is becoming an asset.

As with most early-season games, it was a case of positives and things to work on for Spurs. They look solid at the back but need to be more comfortable and creative in possession, as well as more active in the transfer market. Fingers crossed for the next week.

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