Tottenham Hotspur embark on a big week in their quest for a top-four finish in the Premier League, starting with this evening when they travel to the south coast to face Brighton and Hove Albion.
Antonio Conte’s side have struggled for consistency over the past few months, winning three and losing four of their last seven top-flight outings, the latest of which being a narrow 3-2 defeat to fellow challengers Manchester United.
A bitter blow to their hopes of qualifying for UEFA’s top competition – the Champions League.
Following the match, former Red Devils defender Gary Neville, now one of Sky Sports’ primary pundits, took time to slam some members of Conte’s squad, including Sergio Reguilon, who endured a nightmare at left wing-back, and Matt Doherty.
“They’re not good enough, nowhere near good enough,” he said during coverage (20:00, 12th March)
“I think to play that system you have to have good wing-backs in it and I think Reguilon and Doherty, the quality is not there in both sides of their game, defensively and going forward. I think if they had better wing-backs, they’d be doing a lot lot better.”
It’s a little unfair to criticise the Irishman as he has looked in arguably his best form since arriving in a £15m deal from Wolves, but his Spanish counterpart on the other flank has flattered to deceive since coming back into the starting XI.
His appearance at Old Trafford was his first start in six outings and just his second in nine matches, and in both of those games, Spurs lost 3-2.
Indeed, Reguilon struggled massively against United, where he was defensively suspect but he also failed to deliver on his natural attacking talent – as per SofaScore, the 25-year-old failed to provide a single accurate cross to Harry Kane from seven attempts, also losing possession 21 times, the most in the match.
Wasteful and ineffective in the absence of Ryan Sessegnon, which only highlighted the impact the latter has had on the side in recent games.
Heading into a game against the Seagulls, who utilise a similar system to Conte, could mean that the Spaniard’s involvement is a recipe for disaster from the off.
Forget about Doherty, Conte must be ruthless and axe the £25m-rated lightweight from his starting XI later this evening.