Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham’s philosophy will remain the same, regardless of any tactical tweaks he may make to his side. Spurs have switched between a back four and a back three in recent weeks, but their manager insists the underlying principles of their football is more important that where the players are positioned on the pitch.
Spurs were dumped out of the Champions League after a 2-1 defeat at Monaco, but remain unbeaten in the Premier League despite numerous draws. They travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea tomorrow, in the first meeting between the teams since the in famous ‘Battle of the Bridge’ at the tail end of last season. Spurs let a two goal lead slip that night, and the 2-2 draw mathematically confirmed Leicester as champions. Pochettino said:
“We played with different formations last season against – I don’t want to be repetitive – Watford. And against Arsenal at the Emirates and against West Ham,” Pochettino insisted.
“Against Monaco we played with four at the back again. Maybe they’re different formations from the beginning but at the end the same philosophy and the same principles.
“I think it’s important. It’s not because you say we don’t have another plan.”
How Pochettino sets his Spurs side up at Chelsea will be intriguing. Antonio Conte’s side have racked up six straight league wins using their 3-4-3 formation, and have had the luxury of naming unchanged teams. Typically, managers like to target a back three in the wide areas in an attempt to exploit the space behind the wing backs. Spurs don’t usually play with much width though, apart from what full backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker provide. Rose is suspended, so Jan Vertonghen is expected to fill in at left back. With Toby ALderweireld also ruled out, Pochettino has plenty to ponder ahead of a pivotal London derby.
Elsewhere, the Spurs boss had some worrying things to say about the financial costs of moving to a new stadium. Daniel Levy already imposes quite a strict wage structure at White Hart Lane, and there is a fear that their key assets will look elsewhere for more lucrative deals. Spurs’ near neighbours Arsenal now all about the restrictive effect of a stadium move, and they were starting at a higher base than Tottenham. Pochettino said:
“It’s true that with the process that the club is going through, with the construction of a new stadium, it limits a bit the way we can invest more in the team.
“There are other teams like City, Arsenal, Chelsea, United or Liverpool that have an advantage.”
Finally, former Liverpool and Newcastle midfielder turned pundit Didi Hamann has called upon the club to sign more players. Spurs have struggled to meet the demands of Champions League football, though their squad is fairly deep. However, summer signings Vincent Janssen and Moussa Sissoko have failed to hit the ground running; only Victor Wanyama has impressed since his summer move from Southampton. Hamman said:
“Tottenham getting knocked out of the Champions League is a big blow for them, but they didn’t strengthen their team in the summer and now their squad isn’t in competition with the top teams.
“They needed to freshen things up and they need players to do that.
“Competition is key, it keeps everyone on their toes.
“They may have two or three good players behind their starting XI but that’s about it.
“If players get injured, there are no options to replace them.”
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