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22nd Apr 2018

Former Spurs winger criticises Mauricio Pochettino’s tactics against Man United

There were two omissions from the starting XI that stood out

Reuben Pinder

There were a couple of controversial selections.

A lot has been made of the progress that Mauricio Pochettino has made at Tottenham since he joined the club in 2014. And rightly so; he has lifted the team to a level that very few thought would be possible, with their relatively low budget compared with the rest of the ‘big six’.

But, as many have argued, it will all be in vain if Spurs don’t win a trophy. Their fans have enjoyed incredible moments during Pochettino’s reign: beating Real Madrid, breaking their Stamford Bridge curse, finishing above Arsenal. These are all symptoms of Pochettino’s great work, but the fans will still be hungry for a trophy. Yesterday, they had the chance to reach a cup final, but once again fell at the penultimate hurdle, losing 2-1 to Manchester United at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final.

When the team news came out, two omissions stood out. Toby Alderweireld, whose season has been disrupted with injury and contract uncertainty, and Hugo Lloris, who has suffered a dip in form, were both left out. In stepped Michel Vorm between the sticks and Davinson Sánchez at centre-back.

If you were being harsh, you could argue that Vorm and Sánchez both made errors that led to Ander Herrera’s equaliser. Former Spurs winger Matthew Etherington certainly thinks that Pochettino got his tactics and selection wrong yesterday. Speaking on talkSPORT, he said: “[Pochettino] has done a brilliant job at Tottenham in the four and a half years he’s been there. He’s been sensational and the team is moving forward, I don’t think anyone can dispute that but yesterday I do think he got that wrong.”

Lloris, for me, should have played. De Gea was in there for the big semi-final at Wembley, the big occasion. And Alderweireld as well, again, he’s just come back from injury but he’s their best defender along with Vertonghen – you play your best players in your biggest games.

“[Alderweireld] has been brilliant for Spurs. Yesterday was the perfect game to chuck him in, even though there is politics going on outside the football pitch, just chuck him in.

“In the big games, the big players tend to turn up. He would have done yesterday and he would have been a massive asset to the team.

“It’s all a bit strange to me.”