Tottenham Hotspur slumped to a disappointing defeat to Sheffield United last week but they only had themselves to blame.
The Blades took advantage of one of the worst defensive displays in recent memory as Tottenham could not contain Sander Berge, Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie.
Spurs bounced back with a 1-0 win over Everton, although they were largely untested in a dull affair at home.
Alan Hutton insists the Lilywhites have looked “frail” at the back this season and this is one area they desperately need to improve sooner rather than later.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Spurs star ripped into the defence after a string of “schoolboy” errors at Bramall Lane.
Hutton can’t believe Jose Mourinho hasn’t given Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld another chance as he feels the veterans are “world-class” players.
He told assistant editor Russell Edge “I think Alderweireld and Vertonghen, when they’re on top of their game, they’re a world-class partnership. It just feels something’s gone on there for them not to be playing.
“Tottenham looked frail, especially the Sheffield United game, they looked really bad. It’s obvious where they need to strengthen and that’s the backline in my opinion. It was really disappointing.
“I just think the defending in the Sheffield United game, even when I think about it now, it’s schoolboy stuff. It’s just covering, matching your runners, stopping one-twos – it’s simple, the basics of being a defender just weren’t there.
“He could have changed the full back-four against Everton, Sanchez got pulled out of the firing line.”
It is difficult to disagree with the pundit on this one, as the Lilywhites have leaked goals for fun all season so far. Spurs have conceded more goals than Arsenal, Manchester United and Premier League champions Liverpool.
Mourinho stuck with the same back four for the first three games since the Premier League restart. Although Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen watched from the sidelines as they picked up their first clean sheet in 10 games, Alderweireld was called into action on Monday night.
He replaced Davinson Sanchez in the starting lineup and immediately made a massive difference as Spurs kept another clean sheet.
However, this merely papers over the cracks, as they have still conceded four goals in the last four fixtures.
The Portuguese seemed to have settled on his first-choice pairing but now appears to have changed his mind.
While Vertonghen seems to be embroiled in a power struggle with the Portuguese, Alderweireld signed a contract extension in December, keeping him at the club until 2023. He admitted Mourinho’s appointment influenced his decision to sign a new deal.
The Lilywhites have looked dodgy at the back and they will need to be at their very best if they are to stand any hope of reaching the top four.
Mourinho knows this is an area he needs to improve if Spurs are to challenge for silverware next season.
However, Daniel Levy has made it clear he will not be spending heavily in the summer, and his budget has been severely slashed.
As it stands, Mourinho will have to make do with what he has got, while also pursuing swap deals and free agents in the transfer window.
Tottenham fans, do you think Mourinho should give Alderweireld and Vertonghen another chance? Let us know down below!
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