Mauricio Pochettino has not been able to be as tactically innovative as other top six managers this season because of the injury problems his already thin and fatigued squad have experienced.
It has sometimes been a case of Pochettino putting out the collection of the senior players he actually has available as opposed to setting out a specific tactical plan for a particular opponent.
But in Tottenham’s last two Champions League matches, he has come up with creative solutions at full-back, which have helped his side get two stunning results.
Needing a goal in the Nou Camp in Tottenham’s last group match, Pochettino moved Moussa Sissoko out to right-back, tasked with keeping tabs on substitute Lionel Messi as well as providing attacking thrust.
And last night, faced with the threat of Jadon Sancho without Danny Rose or Ben Davies, Pochettino turned to Jan Vertonghen as a makeshift left wing-back.
After a cagey first half, Vertonghen hauled the game in Tottenham’s direction with a goal and assist in the second period, forcing Sancho to march to the beat of his drum when so many pre-match forecasts predicted the opposite.
Pochettino isn’t just developing his players, he’s constantly looking to deploy them in innovative ways to give him tactical flexibility in the absence of the depth and riches Manchester City possess.
That is underlined by the performances of Vertonghen and Sissoko on the club’s last two European nights.