Domestic action is almost back after the latest round of international fixtures came to a close this week.
Tottenham Hotspur beat Aston Villa before the break, in what was a decent home performance, so Spurs would have used the time off as an opportunity to regroup and go again.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s team started the season extremely well, winning all three of their Premier League fixtures before the August international schedule.
However, things soon turned sour as Espirito Santo’s side were punished in September, losing all three of their league fixtures to Crystal Palace, Chelsea and north London rivals, Arsenal.
The Portuguese boss’ arrival wasn’t met with universal acclaim, but Tottenham fans have always backed whoever’s been in charge, and it’s no different now, either.
It took a while for the club to make the appointment following Jose Mourinho’s swift April exit – 72 days to be exact – and some fans were concerned by the fact that they were bringing in someone who was a little like their former boss, in the sense that he set up rather defensively.
However, having trialled playing four at the back in his first couple of months as Tottenham’s new head coach, some pundits and fans have actually called for Espirito Santo to resort back to what worked for him at Wolves.
Speaking on Sky Sports last month, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher said: “He needs to bring his signings in but my advice to Nuno is be yourself, whether that’s going to a back five or being defensive, do what you do well because they’ve got nothing going forward, worst in the league for xG (expected goals) and chances created, but they’re so open, absolutely ripped apart every game.”
Espirito Santo guided Wolves to the Premier League by adopting a 3-4-3 formation. It allowed his side to attack with width, whilst the extra central defender gave that extra bit of stability in defence.
He had to adapt the style ever so slightly when his side reached the top division – understandably so, as they conceded more possession against better opposition – but the objective remained the same, and those subtle changes worked, nonetheless.
In an interview with Sky Sports in November 2020, the Portuguese head coach revealed why he liked using that formation at Molineux.
“When you attack you have to have width, when you defend you have to be compact, so this is the shape of the team when we are defending,” he said.
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“We have to be compact, close to each other, knowing that the outside [space] is there but the moment it goes we are there to engage on our defensive process.
“But the main idea is to be compact when we defend and achieve maximum width when we attack.”
With better players now at his disposal, you must wonder why he is changing something that clearly worked for him elsewhere.
That’s not to say that his new style won’t eventually pay dividends but it’s certainly food for thought for Espirito Santo ahead of Tottenham’s return this weekend.
Source by Football London