In a recent interview, Noel Whelan criticised the players of Tottenham Hotspur in giving his backing to Jose Mourinho’s style of football.
Having been on a decent run of form heading into the North London Derby last weekend, winning three consecutive Premier League fixtures for the first time since November, Tottenham’s lacklustre performance in the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal reignited debate regarding Mourinho’s future at the club.
However, speaking recently to Football Insider, former Premier League forward Whelan stated his belief that it is the Tottenham players who are to blame for their disappointing performance against the Gunners, rather than their 58-year-old manager.
He said: “I don’t think it’s Mourinho, it’s the players. There are attacking players out there. That’s not a defensive side that’s gone there for a draw. There are very attacking players that can win matches on their own.
“They started off really slow. They got the goal that should have been the breakthrough, the starting point. That should have been when they kicked into overdrive and stepped up the gears and really took the game to Arsenal. But it was Arsenal who were controlling and dictating the game. I don’t think they did enough to go out and win that game. I think the right team won on the day.”
Do you think Mourinho is to blame for the Arsenal defeat?
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Indeed, with Mourinho putting out a more attacking starting XI than the side which had started the 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace a week before the Arsenal clash – with Tanguy Ndombele replacing Harry Winks – it would seem as if, on the surface, the Spurs manager did not plan for his team to have just one shot in the first half of the derby, or six in total over the course of the 90 minutes.
However, while Mourinho’s team selection may have been attacking on paper, there is no guarantee that the Portuguese boss did not instruct his players to play in a defensive manner; and considering that The Telegraph reported that a number of Spurs players believe “they are being stifled” by Mourinho’s style of football, this would not appear to be an overly outlandish thought.
In other news: Tottenham have been sent a warning over Harry Kane – find out more here!
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