Alli’s resurgence and Dier’s role – 3 Talking points from Mourinho’s first game as Tottenham boss

3 Talking points from Mourinho’s first game as Tottenham boss

Jose Mourinho took charge of Tottenham Hotspur for the first time in a short trip to West Ham. All eyes were on him on Saturday as he returned to the Premier League.

And he ended up winning on his debut as Spurs manager, against West Ham. Despite starting brilliantly, they ended up conceding two late goals, which could have led to a comeback from the Hammers.

Their 3-2 win came after the Portuguese had only 72 hours to work with the squad. There were notable changes from the side that drew against Sheffield United before heading to the international break.

Jose Mourinho has replaced Mauricio Pochettino as Tottenham manager. (Getty Images)
Jose Mourinho has replaced Mauricio Pochettino as Tottenham manager. (Getty Images)

The new-look team looked to be an improved unit. Early signs show that Mourinho is aiming for a title with his new side. The team looked different from the game against Sheffield United and there were signs of a resurgence in some players.

Let’s take a look at 3 talking points from Mourinho’s first game as Tottenham manager.

Same formation with a different approach

Jose Mourinho started with his favoured formation of 4-2-3-1 as he had done with Chelsea and Manchester United previously. But there were three changes to the side from their last outing.

Harry Winks and Eric Dier were deployed as deep-lying midfielders and Lucas Moura played on the right flank. They were preferred ahead of Tanguy Ndombele, Moussa Sissoko and Giovani Lo Celso, who was a bright player while on international duty.

Dele Alli started behind Harry Kane, contrary to the previous game. Heung Min-Son and Moura had the licence to roam freely on the wings. West Ham had no answer to their attack, which led to two first-half goals.

Lucas Moura (Getty Images)
Lucas Moura (Getty Images)

Indeed, it was that pair who combined for Spurs’ second goal after Son sped down the left flank and put in a wonderful ball for Moura to tap home from close range.

Harry Winks and Eric Dier set for key roles

Winks and Dier started got the nod to start ahead of other midfield options. Dier seemed to be a favourite of Mourinho from his Manchester United days and wanted to sign the Englishman back then.

Dier’s inclusion was a surprise as he started only 3 Premier League games prior to Saturday’s game. Though he looked sloppy with his passes, his combination with Harry Winks was clearly visible.

Winks was trusted to start moves from the back instead of their defenders. He put up a bright display with his deep runs and also made several notable tackles.

Harry Winks (Getty Images)
Harry Winks (Getty Images)

The backline also got their basics right. Paulo Gazzaniga’s distribution was more direct as Spurs burst into several counter-attacks. Serge Aurier also had a good game as he was responsible for Spurs’ third goal, where he put in a timely cross for Harry Kane to nod home.

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Dele Alli’s resurgence

The player who scored 34 goals for club and country in his first two seasons at Tottenham, had diminished in the past few months. He seemed to be a shadow of himself from the start of this season.

Dele Alli (Getty Images)
Dele Alli (Getty Images)

He also lost his place in the England squad due to his lacklustre performances. With Mourinho in charge, Alli got to play as an attacking midfielder alongside Son and Moura.

He was everywhere and looked to unlock West Ham’s defence. It was his moment of brilliance that set Spurs on their way to their second goal. Alli looked lively, unlike the previous few games. The Englishman looks to be on track for the rest of the season.

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Written by Indhrajit James

Hi, I am Indhrajit James from the Soul of India, Odisha. An English graduate who worships the incredible game of football. An avid follower of European football, playing and discussing this game is something that I cannot take out of my life.
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