Gallery: Player Ratings: Middlesbrough 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Jose Mourinho – 5

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Today was a bit better today from the Portuguese but this was against a lower league side, so I’m not sure that it’s the best idea to draw any conclusions. His tactical shift was a welcome one with the midfield being a lot more engaged today, but the attacking play is still so predictable and slow, making it impossible to enjoy the game. I feel for him since he was so many issues to fix and it looks like he won’t be able to do so in this season. The defence, full-backs, midfield, and attackers all need improving either through coaching or new players, and I’m not sure either of them will happen any time soon.

Opinion

Tottenham Hotspur added another to their recent disappointing performances with a 1 – 1 draw against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup 3rd round. Spurs fell behind early in the second half but drew level with a Lucas header to force a replay which will be at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Mourinho reverted to a back three formation for this game with Dier coming in alongside Alderweireld and Vertonghen and the new formation looked like a good choice at the start, especially in the midfield. Winks played as the deepest midfielder behind Eriksen and Dele, and this structure provided Spurs with good midfield progression and control in the first half. The attacking partnership of Lucas and Son was not creative enough to find a breakthrough, but the signs were more positive compared to previous matches.

However, a poor start to the second half wiped away all the good momentum as a simple ball over the top to Fletcher fooled all the defenders, and the striker did not waste the 1v1 opportunity. Mourinho was then quick with his changes, and opted for a chaotic system, introducing Lo Celso and Lamela in place of Sessegnon and Winks. This meant that Tottenham had no less than 4 No 10s on the field to look for an equalizer. And it worked as Lo Celso’s brilliant pass set Aurier free on the right and Lucas Moura headed in the right-back’s brilliant cross to bring Spurs back in it.

The last 30 minutes were then very similar to first-half with Tottenham dominating possession and looking for a winner but not creating clear cut chances. Towards the end, Aurier had the all-important opportunity to win the match but sliced his shot terribly from close range. The match ended in a draw and Tottenham now has to deal with a replay at home, which is something Mourinho would have liked to avoid before the match.

Focus now turns to the league with Liverpool coming up at home next Saturday and Mourinho will have the same selection and formation dilemmas for this one as well. Lamela and Lo Celso impressed in their substitute appearances, making them clear starters for the future especially with Eriksen, Dele, and Lucas all in bad form. 

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