Steven Bergwijn badly let Jose Mourinho down by producing an invisible display as Tottenham Hotspur weathered the storm to beat Manchester City on Saturday.
It was a performance personifying the tag of a Mourinho Masterclass as Spurs encouraged their opponent to press high up the pitch before hitting them on the counter, with the Citizens ending the match with 67% of the possession and Spurs enjoying just 19 attacking momentum swings to their guest’s 73, per SofaScore.
Spurs would only register two shots on target from a mere four efforts, as well, of which the only strike to come in the first-half came via Heung-Min Son’s fifth-minute opener for his ninth of the season.
And yet it was the north London outfit who emerged triumphant to win a sixth top-flight game in eight and move back atop the Premier League standings ahead of Liverpool hosting top-four rivals Leicester City on Sunday night.
Mourinho recalled Bergwijn to his starting line-up for the visit of his old adversary Pep Guardiola this weekend, having been without the Dutch forward for Tottenham’s last three Premier League games through injury.
The blow saw the 23-year-old forced to withdraw from international duty over the November break after being assessed by Netherland’s medical team, but Bergwijn recovered in time to be available to face Manchester City.
His return afforded Mourinho the chance to play a player he did not initially favour signing when acquired for £27million this January, but one who the Portuguese was instantly impressed by.
“Good player, good professional, good boy,” the Spurs boss noted, via quotes by football.london. “Congratulations to my club, the way they did it. Initially, and I’m always very honest on this, he wasn’t my first option when we decided to make a movement in the winter, but in the end, a great decision.
“A player with a great future, can play on the right and the left. We’re more than happy, not just his age, but also his professional attitude. The way he trains, the way he lives. He’s the kind of kid that can only be better.”
But Bergwijn showed on Saturday that he still has a long way to go before his potential is proven talent, as the forward was left a passenger of Tottenham’s performance as Mourinho favoured his traditional park-the-bus approach at home to Man City.
The 23-year-old winger managed only 29 touches on the left-wing before being hauled off in the 73rd-minute for Lucas Moura, with which Bergwijn produced just one successful dribble and 17 accurate passes, per SofaScore.
He further lost possession six times, lost three of his six ground duels and failed to register a single key pass, attempted cross, shot on goal, successful tackle or interception while being dribbled past once. Bergwijn did, however, pen three clearances and was fouled twice.
Mourinho will hope to see Bergwijn now steps up in training ahead of facing Ludogorets in the Europa League on Thursday night, having been let down in such fashion this weekend.