Tottenham Hotspur are set to be without Serge Aurier for this evening’s FA Cup fifth-round clash at Everton if Jose Mourinho is to be believed…
Speaking ahead of the encounter, the Spurs boss revealed that the 28-year-old is unlikely to play at Goodison Park having been withdrawn early during their 2-0 win over West Brom at the weekend.
He said, via football.london’s Alasdair Gold:
“Serge Aurier, he left the game as you know. Little problem. Can he play tomorrow? I don’t know. I don’t think so. But we have a training session later in the afternoon. Giovani Lo Celso no chance, Sergio Reguilon no chance.”
And this was quickly backed up by the reliable Dan Kilpatrick at the Evening Standard, who claims Aurier is a “major doubt” to face the Toffees.
If the Ivorian is indeed missing this evening, it creates a troublesome dilemma for the Special One – does he trust Matt Doherty or Japhet Tanganga, or may we see Moussa Sissoko deployed there once again?
Despite all of his faults, Aurier has emerged as Mourinho’s no.1 right-back option having started 13 league games this term.
On the other hand, Doherty has struggled to cement his place down among the starting XI after joining Spurs in a £15m deal in the summer.
And following their embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, he was subsequently axed from the next two league outings, even though reports suggested Aurier had landed himself in hot water with Mourinho that night.
Just nine starts all season would certainly back up such a claim as well as the fact that he had always been deployed as a right wing-back in a five at Wolves – unlike Mourinho’s flat back-four system.
Then there’s youth product Tanganga, who hasn’t been seen since a tricky 45 minutes against Championship outfit Wycombe in the last round of the FA Cup – though, it is thought that Mourinho blocked any loan exit in the winter window.
But clearly, he struggles to trust any of his right-sided options, which only shows the severity any Aurier absence could have in such a crucial tie tonight.
A step closer to another final would keep the ‘Mourinho Out’ vultures at bay for at least another week.
Sissoko, a central option by trade, has played nine of his 47 appearances under Mourinho on the right, so that’s also an option, but that’s probably not one that anyone wants to see, as we’ve outlined recently, the Frenchman has held the side back for several weeks now, and they won in his absence on Sunday.
Whether it’s Doherty, Tanganga or Sissoko, on Mourinho’s head, be it.
AND in other news, Spurs could find Mourinho’s next Lampard in ole foe…