Jamie O’Hara has told The Debate (broadcast on 7/10; 22:33) that Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to start Moussa Sissoko at right-back for Tottenham Hotspur’s defeat to Brighton exemplifies that something is not right at the club right now.
Spurs went into the international break off the back of one of their worst weeks under Pochettino. After being beaten 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, they suffered a 3-0 defeat at the Amex Stadium.
The latter result, in many ways, was more alarming for Tottenham fans. And it appears that Pochettino is now facing more questions about his future from those outside of the club.
And following the game, former Spurs midfielder O’Hara suggested that one particular decision that the manager made set the alarm bells ringing.
“Sissoko at right-back, for me, just sums it up,” he told The Debate. “You’ve got full-backs there who you back, which he normally did. Poch always used to back young lads whoever they were, he’d put them in and he’d back them.
“Now all of a sudden, he’s playing Sissoko at right-back when you’ve got Foyth, Sanchez has played there and Walker-Peters. You’ve got right-backs and you’re not using them. That, to me, says something’s not right.”
The gamble did not pay off for Spurs. Sissoko struggled in the role. All three of Brighton’s goals came down Tottenham’s right flank, with the first two coming from crosses into the box.
In fairness, the Frenchman has been one of the players who has arguably not let Tottenham down during this tough period. It is certainly impossible to question his work-rate, so perhaps Pochettino felt that he would step up in a different role.
But with Foyth and Sanchez on the bench, it did look to be a strange decision. And while it would unfair to place too much blame on Sissoko, it can certainly be put forward as one of the reasons why Tottenham did not bounce back from their defeat against Bayern.