Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham pay the price for their negativity against Wolves

When Tottenham beat Manchester City in November with their solely two pictures on course and 34 per cent of the ball, it was seen as a stunningly efficient counter-attacking show.

The subsequent stalemate at Chelsea was deemed an appropriate level. The win over Arsenal, during which Spurs had no second-half pictures and simply 23 per cent of the possession, was thought to be an train in illustrating the impotence of their north London rivals.

Seven factors from these three video games greater than justified the method and having carried Jose Mourinho’s aspect to the prime of the Premier League desk, sparked giddy speak of the title.

Four video games with no win since then have swiftly ended such hopes – Spurs are successfully now seventh if the groups beneath them handle to attract not to mention win their video games in hand.

But maybe much more considerably than that, current outcomes have undermined the concept that this staff had been merely adapting to the circumstances in choosing off their rivals on the break.

Caution may need been the template for these earlier successes however it has now price them factors too. The 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace in mid-December, during which Spurs led for an hour however barely appeared to pursue the second objective, ought to have been a warning.

Instead, there was an much more dramatic instance against Wolves at Molineux on Sunday night as Tottenham needed to settle for a degree in a match they’d led for 85 minutes.

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3:04

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Wolves’ 1-1 draw with Tottenham

Again, had they held on, some would have generously described this as a defensive masterclass however the paucity of ambition against an out-of-form opponent was placing.

Tanguy Ndombele’s objective inside the first minute, coming after Heung-Min Son had raced in behind the defence inside 30 seconds of the kick-off, ought to have been the good platform.

Not for the first time, this Tottenham staff took it as their cue to again off and defend the lead. The Wolves defence, their confidence presumably shaken having solely just lately switched to a again 4, was barely examined once more. They had been let off the hook. Invited to assault.

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Wolves had extra of the ball however it was not simply that. When Tottenham had it, there was a sterility to their method play. There had been occasions when Matt Doherty had area during which to run at his full-back and the freedom to take action in his favoured wing-back position.

He turned again.

Harry Kane dropped deeper and deeper, seemingly embracing that capability to step into midfield a bit too eagerly. The service to Son evaporated. Overlapping runs had been absent.

Spurs went into containment mode from halfway by way of the first half and by no means fairly got here out of it. Their final shot on course got here in the twenty first minute. The solely try in the second half was a free-kick from Eric Dier. Had Wolves’ teenage striker Fabio Silva not mistimed his stoppage-time header from shut vary, they might have misplaced.

While these earlier victories confirmed the deserves of a counter-attacking sport in the proper circumstances, these current struggles have damned it. Sometimes it really works. Often it would not. Tottenham have now dropped 9 factors in the remaining 10 minutes of matches.

They have additionally given up the higher possibilities in six of their seven video games since the November worldwide break. Of course, that owes a lot to the sport state – Mourinho’s males have been main for a lot of the time in the majority of them. But in the event you play as if you’re ready for the opponent to attain, typically they are going to.

As a consequence, Kane and Son – nonetheless, statistically, the most potent ahead mixture in the Premier League – now look a bit starved of alternative. That identical expected-goals knowledge reveals that since mid-November, solely West Brom have created fewer possibilities.

All of which raises the query of who’s accountable for the staff’s mindset. Logic would recommend that that is an instruction drilled into the gamers by their supervisor Mourinho.

After all, his disdain for possession soccer and status for profitable matches with out the ball precedes him. But he was eager to emphasize afterwards that this was not his directive.

“Our problem was that we scored in the first minute and we had 89 minutes to score more goals and we didn’t,” he mentioned. “For me, that was the problem.”

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When Mourinho has a message to get throughout, subtlety shouldn’t be his type. Five occasions in his post-match press convention, he talked about this line about having 89 minutes during which to attain the second objective. He noticed it as an attacking failure greater than a defensive one.

“It was not just about not scoring goals, it was about not being dangerous, not being ambitious. Of course, we can go to the corner and say that at Liverpool we should have won but we lost with a corner, here we should have won but drew with a corner. We can say that at Palace we should have won but drew with a lateral free-kick.

“I may go even to earlier matches. But I do not assume it is extremely apparent to go in that course and never go additionally in different instructions. For me, in the event you rating in the first minute, you’ve gotten 89 minutes to attain extra targets and we did not.”

0:43

Jose Mourinho couldn’t conceal his frustration together with his aspect against Wolves

The indisputable fact that Mourinho introduced on Steven Bergwijn to switch Sergio Reguilon simply after the hour mark was proof to assist his declare that this negativity was not coming from the bench. That was a optimistic change at a time when Wolves had been dominating the sport.

Indeed, he even recommended afterwards that he had warned his gamers of the penalties of sitting again on their lead at half-time. It appears possible that he would have reminded them of what occurred at Palace and urged his gamers to keep away from a repeat.

Could or not it’s that the messaging and the optimistic experiences in shutting out Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal has led to misplaced confidence in their capability to depend on clear sheets?

Or was this extra of a tactical failing by Mourinho, with the change to 5 at the again robbing Kane and Son of extra our bodies to assist them in the attacking part of the sport?

What is obvious is {that a} fortnight after being prime of the Premier League desk, 4 video games with no win – having twice surrendered leads late on – has altered the temper. Tottenham’s negativity must cease if they’re to shift the momentum as soon as extra.

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