Garth Crooks has reserved special praise for Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho in his ‘Team of the Week’ feature on the BBC website.
Jan Vertonghen was included in the team of the week after scoring a late winner for Tottenham against Wolves. Spurs edged Wolves out with a 2-1 win to continue their fine form under Mourinho.
Vertonghen was playing at left-back in a back four at Molineux. However, he is more naturally suited to playing at centre-back. But Mourinho has worked this tactic out carefully.
Given Serge Aurier’s desire to bomb forward from right-back, Mourinho has balanced out the other three defenders. The other three tuck in, giving the Ivory Coast defender more license to attack without compromising the Spurs defence.
Crooks on Mourinho
Writing in his weekly feature on the BBC website, Crooks said: “How inspiring of Jose Mourinho to use three central defenders and a natural full-back in a back four, allowing Serge Aurier to do what he does best and bomb forward when Spurs have possession.
“This occurs without putting your team at risk. The Europeans, especially the Italians, have been doing this for years but to see it used so effectively in a Tottenham side away at Wolves was as interesting as it gets.
“Jan Vertonghen was the key to this formation and the man who also got the winning goal. The Belgium international produced an outstanding all-round performance. This is not a coincidence by the way – Mourinho is working this stuff out with the players at his disposal.”
Mourinho has two modern-day full-backs at his disposal to use on the left-hand side of the defence. He could have picked Danny Rose or promising teen Ryan Sessegnon.
But he has a carefully thought-out game plan and that involves Vertonghen. Mourinho has always been known as a master tactician when it comes to defending and he is working wonders with a previously leaky Spurs back-line.