Nuno Espírito Santo – The man to lead the rebuild?

Who would have thought that Tottenham’s decision to sack Jose Mourinho would result in a 70+ day search for a successor?

The decision to sack Mourinho six days before Spurs faced Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final was always going to be met with criticism. However, many still believed that the club had an idea of who they wanted to take the reins for the upcoming season. 

It was believed that RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann was the preferred choice to replace Mourinho at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but the vacant position at Bayern Munich was enough to tempt the German into becoming the new manager of the Bundesliga champions. 

Graham Potter, Roberto Martinez, Gareth Southgate and Erik ten Hag would later see their names heavily linked with the Spurs vacancy – the latter having held a meeting with Daniel Levy. 

Spurs target Nagelsmann to take over at Bayern this summer

Former manager and fan favourite Mauricio Pochettino was thought to be interested in a return having found it hard behind the scenes at PSG, despite winning the Coupe de France and Trophée des Champions in his first five months. 

Although interest seemed to be mutual, Spurs would once again fail to appoint a new manager as PSG’s determined stance to keep the Argentine at the Parc des Princes would stop talks from progressing any further.

According to Fabrizio Romano, Pochettino would have needed to make a ‘public statement’ if he wished to leave PSG, which was something he wasn’t likely to do.

Mauricio Pochettino: Any big player in the world welcome at French  champions Paris Saint-Germain - Eurosport

The following week would see Daniel Levy approach former Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte.

Conte had recently left his position at Inter Milan, despite winning the clubs first league title in eleven years due to the Italian side’s financial troubles limiting his resources in the transfer market. 

The news of Conte’s potential arrival had created a sense of optimism among supporters and confidence in a deal being concluded was growing day by day. However, talks would later collapse with the self proclaimed ‘serial winner’ as he believed that the project pitched to him by Spurs didn’t match his own ambitions. 

Spurs offer manager 'pharaonic' deal amid incoming 'divorce' - Football365

Although the appointment of Conte was a failure, Spurs were able to secure the signature of another Italian as Fabio Paratici was appointed as the new Managing Director of Football.

Paratici began his non-playing career as Sampdoria’s Chief Observer/Head of Scouting in 2004 before becoming the Head of Technical Areas and Sporting Director at Juventus in 2010.

The Italian was immediately given the responsibility of putting an end to Spurs’ managerial saga.

Portuguese coach Paulo Fonseca was thought to be Paratici’s choice to replace Mourinho but tax complications caused the deal to collapse. Gennaro Guttuso had also agreed terms with the club but pressure from fans led to Spurs going in a different direction.

Tottenham appoint Fabio Paratici as new Managing Director of football

With preseason just around the corner Spurs were finally able to put an end to the longest running managerial search in Europe’s top five leagues as Nuno Espírito Santo was appointed as Tottenham Hotspur manager.

Espírito Santo is best known for his four years with Wolverhampton Wanderers, having guided the Wolves from the Championship to the Europa League quarter final. 

Espírito Santo’s first management gig was with Portuguese side Rio Ave in 2012. Nuno would reach both the Taço de Portugal Taça de Liga finals before leading them to the UEFA Europa League for the first time in the club’s history.

The success achieved at Rio Ave would be followed up by brief spells in La Liga with Valencia and a return to Portugal with Porto.

Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers would be the next destination for the Portuguese coach, a move which would pay off for all parties. Wolves would return to the Premier League as champions after a six year absence from the top-flight of English football in 2017-18. 

The Wanderers experienced a rather pleasant first season in the Premier League as they finished 7th, the clubs highest top-flight finish since 1979-80 and qualified for the Europa League for the first time since 1980-01.  

The following season would see similar results for Wolves as they would once again finish 7th – with a record Premier League club points total of 59. 

Nuno and Wolves would agree to a mutual termination at the end of the 2020-21 season, having faced a disappointing and injury plagued season which resulted in a 13th placed finish.

Tottenham fans react as Wolves confirm Nuno Espirito Santo is leaving this  summer - The Boot Room

Espírito Santo is known for his trademark 3-4-3 formation, which relies on defenders being comfortable with the ball at their feet in order to build from the back. 

While at Wolves Conor Coady would be the catalyst for this system, as his range of passing allowed the full-backs to push high and wide when trying to attack. 

The willingness to engage in one-on-one’s with opponents is also a key component in how Espírito Santo’s system works. The team must be able to dictate the tempo and control of the game in order to isolate defenders and create these opportunities, something Wolves were able to do for the likes of Adama Traore and Pedro Neto.

Another key element to Nuno’s philosophy would be the counter-attack. It is essential for players in this system to overwhelm opposing defenders with runners once possession has been regained. Mexican striker Raul Jimenez was able to benefit immensely through the use of counter attacks, scoring 17 goals in his debut Premier League campaign.

Nuno Espirito Santo 'offered' to Tottenham as Portuguese 'replacement lined  up' for Wolves - Birmingham Live

While width is key to how Wolves attack, a compact shape is required on the defensive end.

Wolves’ shape defensively is routinely described as a back three that can be adjusted to a back five when the team is out of possession (5-4-1).

Pressing traps are employed by positioning players in the midfield and defence in a staggered arc in order to cover more distances. 

“We have to be compact, close to each other, knowing that the outside [space] is there but the moment it goes we are there to engage on our defensive process. But the main idea is to be compact when we defend and achieve maximum width when we attack” said Nuno in 2020.

Nuno Espirito Santo is on shaky ground at Tottenham from the off but his  record shows he could be a canny hire | Evening Standard

Spurs will be hoping that Espírito Santo can work alongside Paraciti and help rebuild a team that is in desperate need of a shake up.

Pochettinho once said that Spurs were in need of a “painful rebuild” and this may be their chance to do just that.

By Reece Coughlan

Relief, disappointment and international duty – A week in the life of Tottenham Hotspur (21st March – 28th March)

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Aston Villa – 21st March

After such a catastrophic performance against Dynamo Zagreb, Spurs travelled to Villa Park looking to save their season.

Jose Mourinho faced a fair amount of scrutiny following Spurs’ exit from Europe and made his feelings toward the squad known as seven changes were made from the starting eleven.

Aurier, Dier, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Lamela and Dele would all miss out and be replaced by Tanganga, Rodon, Reguillon, Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Lo Celso and Vinicius. Kane, Moura and Lloris would be the only three to remain.

Academy products Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine were also given places on the Tottenham bench.

Mourinho and Spurs fans alike certainly got the reaction that they were looking for after 29 minutes of action as Vinicius chased down a long ball from Reguilon forcing a mistake from Martinez, who raced off his line but failed to make a clearance. Allowing Moura to capitalise by playing a nice one-two with Kane before squaring the ball to Vinicius, who has an empty net in front of him.

Having scored his first Premier League goal, the on-loan Brazilian striker has now scored nine goals in nine starts for the North London club.

Tottenham beats Aston Villa 2-0 to keep CL spot in sight | Raleigh News &  Observer

The first half was a positive one for a new-look Spurs team, as the unfamiliar back-line was able to stop Aston Villa from registering a single shot towards the Tottenham goal in the opening 45 minutes.

The reliable Harry Kane would double the Lilywhites’ lead from the penalty spot in the 68th minute after a reckless challenge from Cash.

Kane has been on an absolute tear this season, currently leading the Premier League in both goals and assists with seventeen and thirteen respectively.

Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur - Football Match Summary - March 21, 2021  - ESPN

The win leaves Mourinho’s side in sixth place, only three points behind fourth place Chelsea going into the international break.

With the potential return of Heung-min Son looming and a place in the top four, Spurs still have it all to play for to end the season.

Gareth Bale’s comments – 23rd March

It’s fair to say that Gareth Bale’s comments caused quite a stir among Spurs fans this week.

The Welshman was asked about his current situation at Tottenham and where he expects to be next season during a press conference, ahead of Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Belgium.

“There’s no distraction for me,” said Bale.

“I think the main reason I came to Spurs this year was to play football first and foremost.

“Going into the Euros I wanted to be match-fit. The original plan was to do a season at Spurs and after the Euros still have a year left at Real Madrid.

“My plan is to go back, that’s as far I have planned.”

Jose Mourinho insists Gareth Bale and Dele Alli have futures at Tottenham  following loss to Man City - Eurosport

Many viewed Bale’s comments as a form of disrespect towards Spurs and questioned why he would want to return to Real Madrid, due to his tainted relationship with current manager Zinedine Zidane.

In reality this is a typical comment that loan players often give, Bale is still contracted to Real Madrid for another year once his loan with Spurs expires so for him to comment on his future elsewhere without anything being agreed shouldn’t be expected.

According to Marca, Bale is not in Real Madrid’s plans next season with the club keen to sell him before the expiration of his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu. reported that Spurs have the first option to bring Bale back next season, if he agrees. The terms of his loan would remain the same if triggered, meaning roughly 40 percent of the wingers wages would be paid by Spurs.

International break

With nineteen Spurs players representing their nations during the international break, it’s safe to say that the club will be well represented for the next two weeks.

The following players have been selected to participate in senior fixtures for their nation:

Gareth Bale, Joe Rodon (Wales), Toby Alderweireld (Belgium), Steven Bergwijn (Netherlands), Harry Kane, Eric Dier (England), Tanguy Ndombele, Moussa Sissoko, Hugo Lloris (France), Matt Doherty, Troy Parrott (Ireland), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark), Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast) and academy centre-back Maksim Paskotsi (Estonia).

Following call-ups for the England U21 squad, on-loan pair Ryan Sessegnon and Oliver Skipp join Japhet Tangnga for UEFA Euro U21 action, while Alfie Devine and Dennis Cirkin link up with England’s U19 squad.

Ben Davies was forced to withdraw from Wales’ squad due to an injury that he picked up against Aston Villa. The left-back is expected to be sidelined for up to three weeks.

Dane Scarlett’s new deal – 28th March

Academy standout Dane Scarlett was rewarded with his first professional contract after breaking into Mourinho’s matchday squad at the age of sixteen.

The young striker’s contract will run until 2023, having been triggered following his 17th birthday.

Everything you need to know about Spurs record breaker Dane Scarlett -  PlanetFootball

Scarlett made his first team debut in Spurs’ Europa League victory against Ludogorets Razgrad in November 2020. He has currently racked up three appearances for the senior side, including a Premier League debut vs West Bromwich Albion.

The Hillingdon-born forward has scored 22 goals in 18 appearances for the U18 and U23 sides this season.

By Reece Coughlan

A week in the life of Tottenham Hotspur: 7th – 14th March

Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Crystal Palace – 7th March (Alfie)

Sunday night saw Spurs pick up their third win in a week, leaving the most impressive display till last.

Following wins earlier in the week, Spurs completed a second-half rout against the South London side to take their aggregate scoreline of 13-1 for the week.

Pushing the Lilywhites’ goal tally for the season past 100, second only to Europe’s elite – Bayern Munich.

It was 90 minutes in dreamland once again, with Gareth Bale and Harry Kane running the show. A partnership fans could only dream about years ago, was unfolding in front of their eyes.

Spurs’ first two goals showed the duo’s prowess in full flow, Kane’s passing ability combined with Bale’s intelligent attacking positioning, allowed Spurs to score twice either side of a stooping Benteke header for the visitors.

Kane then produced one of the goals of the season, hitting a first time pass from Matt Doherty across the keeper, sailing into the far corner.

The win was then sealed after Heung-Min Son selflessly squared across to Kane for his second and Spurs’ fourth – breaking the 25 year-old record for most goal contributions by a partnership in a single season.

Jose Mourinho opted for his familiar 4-2-3-1 formation with three changes in the starting XI from the team that beat Fulham, with Tanguy Ndombele being handed a well-deserved rest.

Ben Davies & Dele Alli were replaced by Sergio Reguilon and Lucas Moura as the team was refreshed at the end of a busy week.

The changes in the side were awarded immediately, after Moura’s relentless pressing allowed Bale to tap in for his first goal of the night.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb – 11th March (@sheku_thfc42)

After Sunday’s thrashing of Crystal Palace, it was back to Europa League action for Tottenham against Dinamo Zagreb in the round of 16.

A fast start by the Croatian outfit put Spurs immediately on the back foot, with two great chances for them to take the lead early on.

However, Tottenham inevitably settled into the game, creating a few close chances but failing to capitalise.

But then, a skilful Erik Lamela solo run left five defenders in his wake, only for his left footed shot to come off the post for a Harry Kane tap in.

The start of the 2nd half brought more refereeing controversy, with Serdar Gözübüyük failing to award a clear penalty on Tanguy Ndombele.

The second half continued in the same vein as the majority of the first half with Tottenham creating lots of chances but failing to convert.

Gareth Bale and Steven Bergwijn nearly doubled the lead minutes after coming on, with the Dutchman narrowly missing the post.

The lead was eventually doubled in the 69th minute with Serge Aurier finding Harry Kane in the box for his 26th goal in all competitions.

Bale nearly made it 3-0 as the Zagreb keeper punched his swerving free-kick away from goal.

Next week sees the highly anticipated North London Derby and the second leg of Spurs’ Last 16 tie.

A week in the life of Tottenham Hotspur: 28th February – 6th March

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Burnley – 28th February

It was vintage Gareth Bale at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, with a return to winning ways in the Premier League.

Sky Sports brought some pre-match entertainment, with Roy Keane effectively calling Bale “average.” Which he took personally.

It took just two minutes for Bale to be distinctly unaverage, latching on to a low in-swinging ball from Heung-Min Son to make it 1-0.

Spurs continued to bombard the Burnley defence with chance after chance. Then it was Harry Kane’s turn in front of goal.

After a fantastic start to the game, Bale picked the ball up well inside his own half and sent a long ball out to Kane, who came inside and smashed the ball past the breakdancing Nick Pope.

Before long, it was three. Sergio Reguilón floated a ball to Lucas Moura, who expertly put the ball into the back of the net.

Much of the same came early on in the second half. Serge Aurier looked good on the right, Kane was all over the park, and the midfield duo of Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Tanguy Ndombele were controlling the middle of the pitch.

Burnley slowly began to grow into the game, but then Spurs broke at lightning speed. Son found Bale with a cross-field through ball and without hesistation, the Welshman found the far corner to send Spurs four up.

Full time, a strong defensive display and the fourth time in a month scoring four goals… lots to be pleased about.

Loan Watch

Oliver Skipp (Norwich) vs Brentford – 3rd March

A huge clash at the top of the Championship saw Skippy help his side to an important three points, taking Norwich 10 points clear at the top.

Despite one over-ambitious attempt at a pass to Max Aarons, his clever play on and off the ball, commanding challenges, and fantastic block in stoppage time earned him yet another ‘Man of the Match’ award from Norwich’s Twitter page.

We’re sure the Spurs fans had nothing to do with his landslide victory…

Cameron Carter-Vickers (Bournemouth) vs Bristol City – 3rd March

‘CCV’ scored a late goal, courtesy of his backside, to earn Bournemouth three crucial points in their hunt for promotion.

No clean sheet for the American, but it was a decent enough overall performance, and his winning goal made it a thoroughly good evening.

Jack Clarke (Stoke) vs Swansea – 3rd March

A frustrating evening for Jack Clarke, as he conceded a penalty in the final seconds of injury time, which was converted, costing them a point. There was minimal contact, if any.

He certainly divided opinion after coming on as a substitute at half time, with his lively play on the ball, and his ability to draw fouls, causing the winger to trend on Twitter.

Ryan Sessegnon (Hoffenheim) vs Union Berlin – 28th February

Came on for a 23 minute cameo in a disappointing draw, after playing 20 in the Europa League that Thursday.

Before then, he had missed seven games through injury, so it was a much needed return to play for the Englishman.

Juan Foyth (Villarreal) vs Atlético de Madrid – 28th February

Villarreal succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of league-leaders Atlético, with Foyth playing in the role of right-back.

The Argentine was not at fault for either of the goals and it was a confident performance yet again, despite appearing in multiple positions this season for the Yellow Submarine.

Troy Parrott (Ipswich Town) vs Accrington Stanley – 2nd March

His spell at Millwall may not have been particularly successful, but Troy Parrott seems to be making a name for himself in East Anglia.

He didn’t have too many sights of goal, but he won a penalty and worked tirelessly in the victory for the Tractor Boys.

Harvey White (Portsmouth) vs Doncaster – 2nd March

He recently scored his first senior goal, but Harvey was unable to prevent his side from a poor 2-1 loss at the hands of Doncaster Rovers.

The loss will be a bitter blow to Pompey’s promotion hopes, as now they could fall out of the playoff spaces if games in hand don’t go their way.

Fulham 0-1 Tottenham – 5th March

After a cutting edge display of attacking prowess on Sunday, a more subdued affair was in store for Thursday’s midweek fixture.

Fulham had a lively start to the game, repeatedly driving at Spurs’ defence, dominating the first 10 minutes with 60% possession.

Hugo Lloris, fresh from receiving his 100th Premier League clean sheet, was eager to make it 101 against the London side.

A combination of him and Davinson Sanchez kept Fulham at bay. Then in the 19th minute, a pass from midfield by Dele found Son on the wing, who then returned the favour to an onrushing Dele into the box – meant Spurs took the lead.

However, de ja vu struck late into the first half, as Tottenham and Harry Kane especially, failed to capitalised on a few golden chances to double the lead.

This theme continued into the second half, where Spurs’ failure to kill the game off nearly resulted in the spoils being shared.

Josh Maja rightfully scored in the 62nd minute, only for VAR to dubiously rule the goal out for a handball in the build-up. Since that the decision, the law has already been changed.

Ultimately Tottenham’s defence stood strong, with the likes of Sanchez playing superbly once again, and showing many fans why he deserves to play every week.

Next week, Tottenham host Crystal Palace in the Premier League & Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 West Brom- “the Harry Kane team”

It was a return to winning ways for Tottenham Hotspur after a miserable three games for the Lilywhites, with Harry Kane back in the lineup and Heung-Min Son back amongst the goals.

The team news was met with shock from Spurs fans and rival fans alike: both Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela were playing, but the attention-grabbing inclusion was Harry Kane, injured a few weeks previously against Liverpool, but back in the side sooner than expected. Mourinho made four changes, while Sam Allardyce made five after his own disappointing defeat midweek.

The game got underway in snowy North London, with Spurs the side looking to make the early punches. Harry Kane’s passing clearly made a difference right from the start, and Lucas looked lively, making an early run through the West Brom defence, before Bartley made the most of a heavy touch round Ajayi.

The first few big chances of the game fell to Harry Kane. The first was a product of some excellent work down the right flank by Erik Lamela, playing the ball through to a surging Serge Aurier (pun intended) despite being on his way to the ground. Aurier played a beautiful square ball across to Harry Kane who, on his left foot, blazed agonisingly wide. The next one was a far bigger chance. Kane was somehow first to a wayward through ball from Tanguy Ndombele, after taking a deflection of a defender, and found himself in acres of space in front of the net. A fully fit Harry Kane is smashing it past the keeper, but his shot could only bobble past the post. Perhaps he was distracted by the tribute to Ronald McDonald that West Brom were wearing.

His ankle seemed to give him issues again minutes later. Not feeling that he could hit it first time, Kane shifted it to his right foot inside the box, before having his rather weak shot blocked by a defender. Another effort was palmed away by Johnstone soon after.

A big chance came from a corner, but neither Aurier’s header or Toby Alderweireld’s strike could beat a desperate defence as Lee Peltier and Robert Snodgrass threw everything at it.

After 45 minutes, West Brom created a big chance. Snodgrass sent a cross over to the back post, where Diagne had drifted away from Davinson Sánchez. His header was a solid one, but Hugo Lloris got behind it at the crucial moment. West Brom were adamant that it had crossed the line, but there was no buzz of the watch. It would have been the ultimate smash-and-grab half from West Brom, but the sides went in at half-time still level.

Heung-Min Son had the first chance of the second half, but his low effort was kicked away by Johnstone. Lamela followed it up with a slalom in the snow that most Olympic skiiers would have been proud of, but he couldn’t find the finish, a right-footed shot (or cross?) going off for a goal kick.

6 minutes later, BOOM! Harry Kane latched onto an incredible through ball from Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and slid it past the keeper. He still couldn’t quite hit it with the venom that we’ve come to expect of Tottenham, England and perhaps the world’s best striker, but it was placed with accuracy that more than made up for that.

His class was shown again with a sumptuous touch with his chest, sending Lucas through on the counter. The Brazilian obliged, surging right through the defence and sliding the ball into Heung-Min Son. He’d missed one opportunity today, and that was certainly not happening again. 2-0. Spurs were firmly in the driving seat.

Snodgrass sent a cross over to the back post, where Diagne had drifted away from Davinson Sánchez. His header was a solid one, and this time it was sent past Hugo Lloris, but it was deemed offside. A wake-up call.

At 64 minutes, Erik Lamela did what Erik Lamela does best (no, not making the most of minimal contact from Anthony Martial) and got booked for a lunge on Sam Gallagher.

Lively throughout, Lamela had a pretty good game. Sharp on the ball, dedicated in the challenge before he was replaced by Steven Bergwijn with 20 minutes left to go.

On 82 minutes, Pereira sent a cross over to the back post, where Diagne had drifted away from Davinson Sánchez. His finish was a solid one, but again, his goal was disallowed for offside. To his credit, it looked like very good defending from the Colombian, making sure the offside call would be given through clever use of his body.

16-year-old Dane Scarlett came on for a minute-long cameo, and became the only ever 16-year-old to take part in a Premier League game for Tottenham Hotspur. And that was about it. An uneventful final ten minutes culminated in three points for Tottenham Hotspur, and a thoroughly deserved win.

Attention now goes to an FA Cup clash against Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton, who we face for the first time since our inability to head the ball in defence cost us points in our first game of the season. Spurs are still in all the cup competitions this season, and it would be lovely if we could keep it that way. Come on you Spurs.

Tottenham 4-1 Wycombe – Misleading scoreline sees Spurs advance.

It may have felt like a lifetime ago, but Spurs returned to action eight days after defeating Sheffield United to face Wycombe Wanderers in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

The competition’s draw has been quite generous to Jose Mourinho’s team so far, putting them in a David vs Goliath match up with eight-tier Marine and then bottom of the Championship Wycombe. 

Bale, Winks and Ndombele ensure Spurs avoid Wycombe FA Cup shock | FA Cup |  The Guardian

Tottenham had made ten changes from the side that won 3-1 at Bramall Lane, with stand-in captain Ben Davies being the only player to remain. Gareth Bale was given the opportunity to start his first game in a month, having recovered from a calf injury sustained against Stoke in the Carabao Cup quarter final.

Gareth Bale should have given Spurs the lead in the opening five minutes, as the Welshman connected with Lucas Moura’s corner but his header was wide of the Wycombe post.

Only a couple minutes later and accomplished backup goalkeeper Joe Hart was all that stood in the way of the hosts taking the lead. A flicked header from Leicester City loanee, Admiral Muskwe looked destined for the top corner but the former England number one was able to claw the shot away for a corner.

Not long after regaining control of the fixture, another opportunity arose for Bale as the ball fell to him on the edge of the eighteen yard box but he failed to convert once again.

Despite having come close to conceding on multiple occasions, the Chairboys were able to take the lead in the 25th minute after Davinson Sanchez’ attempted block landed perfectly for an incoming Fred Onyedinma to slot into the bottom left corner.

Late show sees Spurs past Wycombe and into FA Cup fifth round

Shortly after going ahead, Gareth Ainsworth was forced into making a change due to injury. Joe Jacobson had tried to battle through the pain but was clearly not in any condition to continue and was subsequently substituted for Darius Charles.

It seemed as if it just wasn’t going to be Tottenham’s night in the closing stages of the first half, with efforts from Moussa Sissoko and Japhet Tanganga smacking the crossbar.

After trying to find a breakthrough all half, Spurs fans were able to take a sigh of relief. Gareth Bale finally took advantage of the lack of concentration from Wycombe’s defenders by getting on the end of a Lucas Moura cross before guiding the ball into the back of the net.

Wycombe Wanderers 1-4 Tottenham: Bale, Winks and Ndombele see Mourinho's  men through cup scare - myKhel

Jose Mourinho had decided to go with a new approach for the second half, as Japhet Tanganga made way for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. A move that would see Moussa Sissoko play the right-back position instead of his usual role in the heart of the midfield.

Not much had changed for the two sides after the restart, Spurs were unable to make their numerous chances count while Wycombe sat back and hoped to take advantage of the few chances that they had.

The sixty minute mark seemed to be when Mourinho had seen enough as superstars Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Tanguy Ndombele entered the frame over the course of the next fifteen minutes in place of Carlos Vinicius, Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela.

Gareth Ainsworth tried to counter the opposing substitutions by making a few of his own over the same time span. Matt Bloomfield, Admiral Muskwe and Uche Ikpeazu had their time cut short and were replaced by Garath McClary, Scott Kashket and fan-favourite Adebayo Akinfenwa.

Wycombe 1-4 Tottenham Hotspur: Late goal flurry power Spurs to FA Cup 5th  Round - Cartilage Free Captain

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min continued the Lilywhites’ streak of not finding the back of the net but a new sense of danger could be felt upon their arrival.

Harry Winks would break the hearts of many Wycombe fans in the 86th minute, as he broke the deadlock with a curling effort from twenty yards out. A goalmouth scramble had led to a poor clearance from the defender which eventually fell to the England international.

It seemed as if Spurs just needed that late goal to spring into action, as Tanguy Ndombele would increase the lead just a minute later with a calm one touch finish into the bottom eight corner.

With just a minute remaining in added time you would expect Spurs to just maintain possession and see the match through, but Ndombele had other ideas. The Frenchman would remind everyone that he is one of the most technically gifted footballers in the world by dancing his way into space, before using an outrageous piece of skill to split the two defenders and strike the ball between them for his second goal of the game.

Ndombele’s game consisted of two shots on target, two goals, sixteen touches, three duels won, two key passes, one big chance created and a 75% pass completion in only twenty-two minutes of action.

Wycombe vs Tottenham result, final score and FA Cup report | The Independent

Jose Mourinho admitted that he feared his side would be taken to extra time by the Championship outfit.

What can we do? We want to progress in the competition. We don’t want to throw it away. We don’t want to lose. We needed a good strong team and a good strong bench.

“It would be more of a problem with 30 minutes extra time because Kane’s 30 minutes becomes 60 and so on, but hopefully nothing. I didn’t see huge fatigue. Ben Davies, I hope just a bad feeling and not anything on his calf.

“But I knew that the game was going to be difficult. We prepared the game knowing it could be hard and it was. It’s not easy to handle their style of play.

“I showed the players clips of when we played them four years ago and it was a difficult game then and it was again.”

Jose Mourinho relieved after late show sees Tottenham past Wycombe in FA  Cup – YO1 radio

Everton will be Tottenham’s opponents in the fifth round of the FA Cup, having beaten Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.

Spurs will now be looking to avenge their last minute defeat at the hands of Liverpool on Thursday. With only a point separating the two teams a win for the North London side would take them five points behind leaders Manchester City.

By Reece Coughlan

Oliver Skipp – How a “future captain” is performing on loan.

Unlike rival clubs Tottenham haven’t had much progress in developing their youth talent into first team players.

Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Japhet Tanganga are the only current members of the first team that have been awarded senior contracts after going through the clubs youth system.

However, on-loan midfielder Oliver Skipp has given Spurs a reason to be excited for the future.

Skipp has managed to rack up 23 appearances for the senior team, since his breakthrough in October 2018 and was rewarded with a new three-year contract with the option to extend for a fourth year on July 17th 2020.

Some fans react to Spurs loanee Oliver Skipp's display last night - The  Boot Room

Olivier Skipp has seen his game be compared to £15 million summer signing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

The two deep-lying midfielders like to sit between the defence and midfield, dispossessing opposing attackers and covering for those out of position, while still being able to make a contribution going forward.

The 20 year old Englishman has received high praise from the likes of Daniel Farke to Jose Mourinho.

Mauricio Pochettino, gave Skipp his professional debut whilst managing the club and seemed to be a big admirer of the youngster.

“Fantastic, fantastic. I think he played like a 30-year-old man.

“He was so relaxed, trying to play forward and trying to give the team what the team needs, plenty of energy, full energy, I am so proud of him.

“I think everyone is proud of him. He is only 18-years-old and I think it was fantastic.” said Pochettino after a 3-1 win on Skipp’s first senior start.

If you thought that Pochettino’s comments were a tribute to how good the England U21 is then the comments made by Mourinho will blow you away.

“I think he’s genuinely Tottenham’s future. He’s one of these players by human quality, by personality, he is one of these kids that I have no doubt he will be an important player for Tottenham.

“I never told him I want him to go on loan, I always told him I wanted him to stay here, because that’s the selfish perspective of a coach who wants the best possible squad. In his mind he wants to go on loan, six months, the whole season.

“I think he can be more than a player, he can be a future captain here. Hugo, Harry. I see this kid being one day a future captain here by his character, by his personality. I feel really happy that he signed.”

Oliver Skipp: A star in the making? - Fortunes From Football

In August Skipp joined Championship side Norwich City on a season-long loan, in order to receive regular first team football whilst being able to help the Canaries compete for promotion back to the Premier League.

The decision to go on loan is looking to have paid off wonderfully for both parties, as Norwich currently sit 1st in the Championship with 53 points, while Skipp is being given a key role in a side who are on track to reach their ambitions set before the season kicked off.

The central midfielder has started all 25 of Norwich’s league games this season, creating 19 chances and having an 88.3% passing accuracy.

Skipp was also named Norwich’s Player of the Month for September.

Oliver Skipp wins September Player of the Month award - News - Norwich City

With Skipp turning in quality performances week in and week, the big question is what will Spurs do with the youngster next season?

Will he be an understudy to Hojbjerg?, can he replace Sissoko?, will he go back out on loan?

Not much can be said on the matter at the moment but what we do know is that Spurs have a potential diamond on their books and must do whatever is necessary for him to succeed.

By Reece Coughlan

Tottenham vs Marine – No room for an upset

Having already booked a place in the Carabao Cup final, Tottenham will now turn their attention to eighth-tier Marine in the third round of the FA Cup. 

The fixture hosts the biggest mismatch in the competitions history with Marine currently placed sixth in the Northern Premier League North West, while Spurs sit fourth in the Premier League.

Tottenham player ratings vs Brentford: Sissoko, Ndombele, Hojbjerg dominate  midfield to book Wembley ticket | Evening Standard

You only have to go back to Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final clash with Brentford to find Tottenham’s last encounter with a lower league club.

Spurs were able to take the lead in the 12th minute, as Sergio Reguilon whipped a pin-point cross into the opposing box for Moussa Sissoko to guide his header into the top right corner. An unlikely goal for the Frenchman, who last scored against Burnley in December 2019.

However Brentford would not go away quietly and were inches away from equalising in the 63rd minute through a close range header from striker Ivan Toney. Fortunately for Jose Mourinho’s side the goal was ruled out by VAR for offside.

Heung-min Son would take the nerves out of the game in the 70th minute, by making a blistering run in between the Brentford defenders to get on the end of a Tanguy Ndombele through ball and score in clinical fashion.

The 86th minute was worrisome for Spurs, as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had been on the receiving end of a challenge, which was viewed as dangerous by Mike Dean. After checking the monitor the veteran referee decided to give midfielder Josh Dasilva a straight red card, while Jose Mourinho took no risks and subbed off the Dane, despite his best efforts in trying to persuade his manager to let him see out the rest of the game.

Carabao Cup LIVE: Tottenham v Brentford live commentary, score & updates -  Live - BBC Sport

Josh Dasilva would take to Twitter after the match to make his intentions clear regarding the challenge, which saw him sent off;

Hojbjerg would respond to the Brentford playmaker with a classy message, assuring him that he is fine;

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sends message to Josh Dasilva after red card for  horror tackle - Mirror Online

Spurs will be looking to avoid an unexpected upset against Marine, who are the competitions lowest ranked side heading into the third round.

With such a large gulf in class between the two sides, Spurs are expected to give a rest to a number of starters.

Jose Mourinho was asked about his squad selection ahead of Sunday’s fixture and had the following to say;

Is Gareth Bale going to be fit for Sunday?

“He trained today first time with us so tomorrow second time and tomorrow after training we will make a decision and what I can say and it’s also a way to show you the way we are looking, the respect we have for this fixture, is that Gareth told me he would like to go and would like to play so if tomorrow if the feelings are positive, Gareth will come.”

Will Harvey White and Jack Clarke be involved?

“Harvey and Jack they are U23s, they play U23s when we feel that they should go there and take minutes but there are professionals. They belong with the first team squad, they train with the first team squad since day one in pre-season.

“They played in the Europa League so let’s look at them as first team players and of course they will be involved in the game but they are involved so many times so it’s nothing new.”

The Portuguese coach also revealed that he would be including one U18 player for the trip to Rossett Park.

“With a starting 11 plus nine on the bench we are speaking about 20 players. I can tell you, in this 20 player we will take only one U18 player. So we will take one U18 player who will be on the bench, like we had also that in other matches.

“We had that in many other matches. One kid will be on the bench, so out of 20 only one. Apart from that we have 19 players from the first team squad”

Harvey White posts on Instagram after Tottenham debut

Sunday’s fixture is undoubtedly the biggest game in the Marine’s history and a record breaking turnout was definitely on the card, however the government’s new lock-down procedures have caused the fixture to be played behind closed doors.

The absence of a crowd would have been a huge financial loss for Marine, so the club decided to sell virtual tickets in an attempt to generate some income.

Tottenham themselves have also pitched in by offering four stadium tour vouchers and four Dare Skywalk vouchers as prizes for the club raffle.

Marine have currently sold over 10,000 virtual tickets, 3,434 more than the maximum capacity of their stadium.

Marine have beaten Barnoldswick Town, Frickley, Runcorn Linnets, Nantwich Town, Chester FC, Colchester and Havant & Waterlooville on route to the third round.

Get to know Marine AFC with Sam Carroll of the Liverpool Echo | Tottenham  Hotspur

Tottenham team news:

Erik Lamela is in with a chance of returning to the side. The Argentine hasnt been selected since his breach of government restrictions.

Giovani Lo Celso remains out with an injury and isn’t expected to make a return until after January.

Gareth Bale is in the running for a return from injury.

Matt Doherty is available for selection after serving his suspension for a red card against Leeds.

One of Dane Scarlett or Alfie Devine is expected to make the bench.

Predicted XI: Hart, Davies, Rodon, Tanganga, Doherty, Winks, White, Dele, Moura, Vinicius, Bergwijn

Marine team news:

Marine manager Neil Young revealed that Liverpool have helped them prepare for Tottenham by sending footage for the players and staff to analyse. Both Everton and Liverpool have also offered training facilities to the club.

Predicted XI: Passant, Davies, Miley, Raven, Joyce, Doyle, Hmami, Barrigan, Kengni, Cummins, Touray

Written by Reece Coughlan

Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham – Heartache at Anfield.

Last night saw the first time in history that both the sides met whilst occupying first and second on the table, each looking to get one over on their title challenger.

Both clubs were coming off the back of disappointing draws at the hands of Crystal Palace and Fulham respectively, intending to put the record straight in what would be a tight contest.

Premier League LIVE: Liverpool v Spurs, Arsenal v Southampton, Leeds v  Newcastle, Leicester v Everton, Fulham v Brighton, West Ham v Crystal  Palace - Live - BBC Sport

After what could only be described as a frustrating evening at Selhurst Park, Jose Mourinho made two changes from the side that took a point away at Crystal Palace. Tanguy Ndombele dropped to the bench for Giovani Lo Celso, while birthday boy Sergio Reguilon made way for the surprise inclusion of Ben Davies.

Beating Liverpool over the past few seasons has been a tough task in itself, but beating the Reds at Anfield has been something that no Premier League club has been able to achieve in three years. Jurgen Klopp’s side has not suffered a home defeat since the 2-1 loss against Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace in April 2017.

From the offset it was apparent that Mourinho would employ his traditional ‘park the bus’ tactic against last season champions, as Spurs soaked up pressure while Liverpool were able to dictate the tempo of the game.

Despite having a fair few amount of chances, the combination of Hugo Lloris and the Spurs backline had kept Liverpool at bay, until Mohammed Salah’s deflected strike gave the Merseyside outfit a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute.

In classic Mourinho fashion, Spurs did not have to wait long for an equaliser as seven minutes after Salah’s strike, Heung-Min Son tucked away his 11th goal of the season.

Spurs once again showed why they are one of the best counter attacking teams in Europe, as a driving Giovani Lo Celso played a ball in behind the Liverpool defence to the South-Korean, who made no mistake by slotting the ball past Allison.

However the first half action wasn’t done there, as Lloris was able to stop Salah from restoring Liverpool’s lead. The World Cup winning goalkeeper was able to get down a parry the Egyptian’s shot away to safety, moments before the two sides headed down the tunnel.

Liverpool 1-1 Tottenham LIVE! Salah, Son strike - latest score, match  stream, goal updates and how to watch | Evening Standard

Steven Bergwijn was able to start the second half on more of a positive note for Tottenham by being able to shield off pressure from Trent Alexander-Arnold before narrowly putting the ball past the post.

Not long after Bergwijn’s attempt, Harry Kane almost pulled off the spectacular by attempting to chip Allison from 30 yards out, but the Brazilian goalkeeper was able to recover and acrobatically tip the ball over the bar.

The first change of the evening was made by Spurs in the 58th minute with Lucas Moura entering play in exchange for Lo Celso, who left on a yellow card.

Although the second half had become tougher for Liverpool, they were still piling on the pressure as Salah once again was denied by Lloris who pushed an awkward shot behind him.

If there was a moment for Spurs to take the lead then Steven Bergwijn and Harry Kane needed to make their chances count. On the counter, Son managed to flick the ball on for Bergwijn, who somehow hit the post despite being one-on-one with the Liverpool keeper with defenders nowhere to be seen.

Seconds later, Harry Kane got onto the end of a Tottenham corner and somehow managed to send a header past the post from six yards out.. A rare occurrence for the hot in-form striker.

A few minutes later, Sadio Mane smartly spun Toby Alderwiereld before letting off a lethal attempt which flew past Lloris, but off the crossbar and out of play.

Bergwijn’s evening was an up and down affair, as he was subsituted for Reguilon in the 76th minute. Suggesting that Mourinho would be trying to hold on for a point. While Son left the field for Dele Alli in the 87th minute.

Just when it looked like Spurs were going to avoid defeat at Anfield, they went back to their old ways and allowed Roberto Firmino to win an uncontested header from an Andy Robertson corner in the 90th minute.

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur Match Report, 16/12/20, Premier League |

Jose Mourinho expressed his dissatisfaction with the result, believing that Spurs should have come away with the victory. A statement that expresses the views of many Tottenham supporters.

“The best team lost and he (Klopp) disagreed but that’s his opinion.” Mourinho said

“I think even a draw would have left us not with the best taste because we had them there to win it.

“It was not just about the big chances it was the moments of the big chances and the moment was when they were in trouble in their worst moment and we had it there to kill it but we missed it.

“Normally at matches at this level you pay and I thought we would pay just taking a point.

“In the end we didn’t even take a point, so it is very disappointing. But looking at the performance I am happy with the team, with the proposal of going to a match to win it.”

Jose Mourinho tells Jurgen Klopp 'the best team lost' in postgame exchange  after Spurs loss against Liverpool -

The disappointing result now means that Liverpool have regained their spot at the top of the Premier League table, while Spurs currently sit three points behind in second place. Mourinho will be hoping that his old club, Manchester United don’t come back to bite him as they will leapfrog Spurs if they are able to win their two game’s in hand.

Spurs will now turn their attention to Leicester City, who visit the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. Three points against the Foxes will allow the Lilywhites to stay close to Liverpool, who head to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace in a fixture that certainly won’t be easy for the Reds.

The main takeaway from last night is that both teams are fiercely matched this season, and will be in and around the top come the end of the season for sure. Whether it be a surprise season from Tottenham or Liverpool retaining their control of the Premier League, remains to be seen.

Written by Reece Coughlan

Edited by Joey Pickthall

Tottenham 2-0 Royal Antwerp – Top of another table

After last week’s frustrating 3-3 draw with LASK, it was tough to take any real positives from that performance. However, a point against the Austrian side meant that Spurs had cemented their place in the knock-out stages of the Europa League.

Despite qualification being wrapped up, Spurs sat second in Group J. Meaning they needed to beat Royal Antwerp in the last game of the group to finish first.

Jose Mourinho made nine changes from the side that won 2-0 in last Sunday’s North London derby against Arsenal. Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso being the only two remaining in the starting eleven.

Tottenham seemed to be in control of the game from start to finish, as Antwerp failed to register a single shot on target during the 90 minute affair.

With the score still at 0-0, half-time saw Reguilon make way for winger Steven Bergwijn, as Mourinho decided to shuffle the pack by going to a back four for the remaining 45 minutes.

Although looking comfortable, it took until the 57th minute and a moment of brilliance from Gareth Bale for Spurs to find a breakthrough.

The Welshman stood over a free-kick from at least 30 yards away and launched a rocket of a strike towards the top right corner, which was somehow tipped onto the post by Beiranvand.

Carlos Vinicius was the first to react to the loose ball, finishing into an empty net to give Spurs a 1-0 lead in front of 2,000 loyal supporters.

Bizarrely, Jose Mourinho made a triple substitution seconds after taking the lead, with the goalscorer Carlos Vinicius making way alongside Gareth Bale and Harry Winks for Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Tanguy Ndombele.

Tottenham 2-0 Royal Antwerp: Vinicius and Lo Celso goals seal top spot for  Mourinho's men

To nobody’s surprise the substitutes settled into the game instantly. A nice piece of linkup play between Bergwijn and Son resulted in Beiranvand having to turn away another shot which could have doubled Tottenham’s lead.

The changes didn’t stop there for the North London side, as in the 68th minute Moussa Sissoko was introduced at the expense of Lucas Moura.

Two minutes later, Lo Celso latched onto a Kane through ball and guided an outside the boot finish into the bottom left corner.

The Argentine put in a performance of the highest quality: recording an 82% pass success rate, twelve recoveries, four crosses, four chances created, six dribbles completed and scoring a goal.

Lo Celso’s performance may have spoken for itself but it didn’t stop Jose Mourinho from adding further praise.

“He was at a high level last season but got an injury and didn’t have a pre-season.

“He’s playing in the Europa League and coming off the bench in the Premier League. He played the last match well and this match very well. This is more like normal Gio.

“When he’s fit he can show that the intensity is there.”

Tottenham Hotspur seal top spot with Antwerp win - Eurosport

The result now means that Spurs sit atop of the Premier League and their Europa League group and now look forward to the Round of 32 draw.

The possible opponents for the Round of 32 consist of Krasnodar, Red Bull Salzburg, Olympiakos, Dynamo Kiev, Young Boys, Molde, Slavia Prague, Lille, Benfica, Granada, Real Sociedad, Braga, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Wolfsburg and Crvena Zvezda.

Written by Reece Coughlan

Edited by Joey Pickthall