Speaking recently on a video posted by Football.london, Tottenham Hotspur correspondent Alasdair Gold discussed Jose Mourinho’s troubles at centre-back.
Despite having the third-best defensive record in the Premier League so far this season, Mourinho has been said to be frustrated with his defenders’ performances in recent weeks, stating that it was ‘not easy to assimilate’ the ‘goals that we concede’.
Evidence of Mourinho’s irritation can be seen in the 57-year-old’s selection of players at centre-back, with Eric Dier tending to be the only constant in the position – the 27-year-old has started 17 of the club’s 18 Premier League fixtures this term.
Aside from Dier, in the Premier League, Toby Alderweireld has started 11 games, Davinson Sanchez has started six fixtures, and Joe Rodon has started two matches, perhaps showing that Mourinho is unsure as to which of his centre-backs are his best options.
This was one subject of conversation on a recent video posted by Football.london, in which Gold stated his belief that the Spurs boss does not have a clear idea of his best centre-back pairing.
He said: “I don’t think he does, I don’t think he knows [his best defensive lineup]. I think he knows probably, at the moment, [Serge] Aurier and [Sergio] Reguilon are in there. And, as much as it would probably upset some people, Eric Dier looks to be the first choice [at centre-back].
“I just happened to be looking up the starts – Eric Dier has started 17 out of the 18 Premier League matches. So, whatever you think of Eric Dier, that’s your first-choice centre-back. Whereas Toby Alderweireld, it was 11 out of the 18 he’s started, which I didn’t actually realise – it’s just over half. It’s really not that many at all, compared. I think Sanchez was five, Rodon two.
“So yeah, he hasn’t quite figured out yet how that pairing works. It could develop into Dier and Rodon. I think a lot of people, probably myself included, would say it’s a bit harsh on Alderweireld. I think he’s actually been getting back to some very decent levels of consistency.
“But, there’s just something Mourinho doesn’t seem to really trust or like about Alderweireld and Dier together as a central pairing. It could be a lack of pace, perhaps. I don’t know, to be honest, because I do think Alderweireld is very good.”
Should Alderweireld be starting for Spurs?
TIF Thoughts on Alasdair Gold’s comments regarding Tottenham Hotspur’s centre-backs…
Going off statistics alone, according to WhoScored, Alderweireld has been Tottenham’s best centre-back so far this season, earning an average match rating of 7.04 over his 11 appearances in the Premier League.
Eric Dier then ranks as Spurs’ second-best centre-back, averaging a WhoScored match rating of 6.76, with Sanchez coming in third with an average rating of 6.48 and Rodon in fourth with an average 6.41 rating.
As such, as Gold suggests, it would appear that Alderweireld is indeed unfortunate to not find himself in Mourinho’s starting XI more often.