Jose Mourinho must consider his “last resort” defensive duo as Tottenham Hotspur prepare to face Manchester City this Saturday, after outcast centre-half Davinson Sanchez delivered a traumatic display as Colombia were humbled 6-1 away to Ecuador on Tuesday night.
Sanchez has struggled to establish himself in Mourinho’s plans this term, with the 24-year-old restricted to just four Premier League appearances and omitted from the north London side’s last three matchday squads.
Mourinho has instead persisted with the pairing of England and Belgium internationals Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld, who have opened seven and five top-flight fixtures respectively, despite the former Chelsea boss harbouring doubt over the duo’s ability to play together.
Sources at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium are alleged to have told Football Insider that Mourinho sees Dier and Alderweireld as his “last resort” options, and one the Portuguese tactician would strive to avoid “at all costs” through their combined lack of pace.
Sanchez would have hoped to deliver a performance against Ecuador that could have forced Mourinho into a change of thinking ahead of facing Man City as he earned his 32nd cap, but the £40.5million-rated dud instead offered what El Tiempo would only rate at a woeful three out of 10.
The Colombian outlet tore into Sanchez for he failed to bring the defensive solidity expected of a player with his experience, having not made the squad as Everton’s Yerry Mina was sent off in defeat to Uruguay last time out. It left Carlos Queiroz’s side down in seventh place in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table and eight points behind leaders Brazil.
“It was expected that with his return the defence would regain security and between his doubts and the lack of a filter, the game ended very badly for him,” El Tiempo noted.
As well as earning an appalling three out of 10 from El Tiempo, Sanchez was graded as the second-worst performing outfield player for either side during Colombia’s 6-1 hammering to Ecuador by SofaScore.
Their data shows the Spurs outcast as making just one successful tackle throughout the 90-minute affair, along with two interceptions and two clearances, but only winning two ground duels and three aerial contests as he lost possession 12 times, committed one error that led to a shot and misplaced 11 of his 32 attempted passes for a lowly 66% completion rate.
Sanchez, who earns £65,000-a-week according to Spotrac, vastly struggled to connect with his Colombia teammates when playing the ball long, too, with the former Ajax prospect completing just four of his 12 long passes while recording more touches (42) than his defensive partners Luis Orejuela (16), Jeison Murillo (28) and Johan Mojica (21).
Given his efforts, Mourinho will not be expected to look favourably on Sanchez’s availability when Spurs host Manchester City this Saturday evening.