This article is part of Football FanCast’s Off the Bench series, which places in-game managerial decisions and squad selections under FFC’s microscope.
After suffering the humiliation of losing 7-2 to Bayern Munich in mid-week, Tottenham’s woes were compounded when they fell to a 3-0 defeat to Brighton in the Premier League.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side suffered their biggest defeat under the Argentine’s management on Tuesday night, and they would undoubtedly have been hoping for some kind of positive reaction against the Seagulls on Saturday.
But a howler from Hugo Lloris allowed Neal Maupay to open the scoring for the home side after just a few minutes, before a brace from Aaron Connolly sealed a comfortable victory for Graham Potter’s men.
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Pochettino has come under criticism in recent weeks, and his decision to take off Tanguy Ndombele at half-time certainly appeared to be eyebrow-raising to say the least.
Whilst the summer signing may not have set the world alight in north London since arriving in a big-money deal from Lyon, he represents one of the more offensive midfielders in the side. The Frenchman has averaged an impressive 1.5 successful dribbles per game this season, and it’s that directness from deep that can often change the tempo of an attack.
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And yet, despite trailing 2-0 at the break, Pochettino decided to take off the 22-year-old for Harry Winks. Whilst the latter came on to provide some more thrust, surely the more logical choice would have been to substitute Eric Dier, a specialist holding midfielder?
Instead, Dier continued to look all at sea in a rare Premier League appearance, completing just 74% of his passes, and losing possession 15 times over the course of the game. When you need to score at least two goals to earn a result, doesn’t it make more sense to take off the more defensively-minded player, instead of the one whose main strength is to drive forward?
Why is Dier still on the pitch
— Elai Roberts (@elaijabruh) 5 October 2019
Why tanguy? Bring off dier
— WINKSY_WZN. (@WINKSY_SZN8) 5 October 2019
— Trevor Durham #FBPE ??????? (@TheTrevorDurham) 5 October 2019
In the end, Spurs didn’t look at all likely in making their way back into the match. But Pochettino’s half-time decision spoke of just how out of touch the Argentine appears to be at the moment.