Inside Lane: Why Spurs boss Pochettino should make fewer changes between games
PUBLISHED: 07:40 24 September 2014
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Tottenham blogger David Lee feels Tottenham would benefit from having a settled defence and fewer changes to the line-up between matches.
As a chorus of boos greeted the full-time whistle at White Hart Lane on Sunday, the sea of empty blue seats told its own story.
The swashbuckling Spurs side that served up the 4-0 demolition of QPR just a few weeks ago was nowhere to be seen. Instead, they’d been replaced by a group of strangers who lacked incision, organisation and tempo.
I feel we need to put a stop to the wholesale changes being made between Europa League and Premier League games and establish a settled side.
It comes as no surprise that our back-to-back home league defeats to Liverpool and West Brom followed midweek Europa League engagements.
Mauricio Pochettino made nine changes to the side that beat AEL Limassol for our clash with Liverpool. Similarly, Hugo Lloris was the only player who kept his place against West Brom after last week’s trip to Serbia to face Partizan Belgrade.
While the journeys to the fringes of Eastern Europe can be draining, I feel the lack of continuity in selection is now hurting the side.
With the exception of Ben Davies, the back four cannot keep changing. The key to defensive solidity lies in the players developing successful partnerships and spending as much time on the pitch together as possible.
Pochettino’s constant changing of our central defensive pairings isn’t helping - and Sunday’s selection of Vlad Chiriches seemed particularly baffling. The Romanian’s inability to do the simple things put us under unnecessary pressure and ultimately led to the corner that condemned us to a humiliating 1-0 defeat.
Chiriches’ complicated style of defending could not be more at odds with the simple, composed performances that us Spurs fans have grown accustomed to after years of watching Ledley King at the Lane.
Our vulnerability from set pieces also seems to stem from a lack of defensive continuity. Sunderland, West Brom and even QPR caused us huge problems from dead-ball positions and I feel this comes from the ever-changing defensive selection.
Going forward, Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen are clearly Pochettino’s favoured attacking unit, so why not play them together more?
The trio’s fluid, interchanging style has the potential to unlock any Premier League defence, but they are not being given the consistent playing time together that is needed to fully understand the intricacies of each other’s games.
Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon are still to show they warrant starting positions in Europe or the Premier League so Pochettino should let them prove their worth from the bench. As for Paulinho, his form in 2014 will surely have left Daniel Levy scrambling around for his £17million receipt.
The fans have given the new recruits a season to adjust to the Premier League; it’s now time to deliver.
Follow me on Twitter @David_Lee91