The Premier League clubs had polarizing journies in the UEFA Champions League, with Tottenham Hotspur proving their quality with a 3-0 thrashing of Borussia Dortmund. While Mauricio Pochettino’s tactics worked to perfection, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ones didn’t work against a superior Paris Saint-Germain side, who beat them 2-0 at Old Trafford.
In this “tussle” with Solskjaer for the Manchester United job – if indeed there is one (as per Forbes) – then Pochettino absolutely leapt ahead. Even without big stars Harry Kane and Dele Alli, Spurs produced another clinic at Wembley thanks to their positive approach and the Argentine’s brilliant tactics.
After being outdone in the first half, Pochettino read his opponents thoroughly to deal the lethal blows in the second half. Spurs came out fighting, scoring the opener through Son Heung-Min a minute into the half thanks to high pressing on the left-flank.
With Dortmund in panic mode, they later added two more through Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente, capitalizing on BVB’s ineptitude dealing with crosses. Playing a rare 3-5-2 formation, Pochettino produced an adjustable system, allowing freedom for his wing-backs to go forward and capitalize on Achraf Hakimi and Abdou Diallo’s inexperience. The Argentine realized Dortmund’s defensive frailties and kept pushing his side forward.
Tottenham’s high-pressing mixed with sleek, incisive movement created problems for Dortmund. In the end, Pochettino’s ability to tap into the maximum potential of certain players proved fruitful as unexpected heroes in Vertonghen, Serge Aurier and Llorente emerged to give them a cushioned lead.
Pochettino did everything that Solsjkaer couldn’t manage to do against PSG in the second half. If Ed Woodward was watching, he’d definitely be impressed.
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