It is safe to say Jose Mourinho is having a bit of a torrid time in North London at the moment. For a manager who has always relied on solid defensive principles: errors from the backline are seen almost every game.
However, one player from the defence is sorely missed at the moment: Sergio Reguilon. The left-back has, without a doubt, been the defensive bright spark this season.
Since the injury he picked up in training three weeks ago, his void in the Spurs side has been obvious; painfully so, in fact.
Ben Davies, his replacement, is a good servant and has been fairly reliable in his seven-year tenure at the club. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Reguilon is better in every aspect of his game.
For all of his infectious energy going forward, it’s important to first state that he does have really good defensive abilities. During Spurs’ good run of form in December, when they were top of the league – they excelled in a deep, defensive low-block and Reguilon was key in that. He was calm, focused, mature, and put in some important challenges.
But going forward is where the left-back thrives – and where Spurs dearly miss him. Mourinho’s attempt to produce quick transitions up the pitch during turnovers, a common game-plan this season, has been ineffective of late and Reguilon’s absence is a part of this.
He provides the counter-attack with width — something that, against Man City in particular, was a glaring problem. Spurs were too narrow when they were on the ball and were usually crowded out in the middle of the pitch.
The dynamism, expansion, and general width that he adds to Tottenham’s attack is vital, and this problem becomes more apparent when Ben Davies, in all honesty, does none of these things.
The most frustrating thing about this situation is that Mourinho may have to start preparing for life about Reguilon, as the £40 million buy-back clause is looming over him with Real Madrid also reportedly keen on activating it this summer (Sport).
The good news is that Reguilon may not be far away from a return, with Mourinho earmarking next week’s Europa League game as a possible chance for the Spaniard.
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