Cri­sis averted for now but Mour­inho knows he is pa­per­ing over the cracks

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By Matt Law

cor­ner, but credit must be given for the spirit and de­sire of play­ers who have had their char­ac­ter ques­tioned more than once this sea­son.

But while this re­sult keeps Tot­ten­ham’s sea­son alive in terms of try­ing to se­cure a route into the Europa League, it will not pa­per over the more long-term cracks, one of which was ev­i­dent yes­ter­day.

Mour­inho ad­mit­ted al­most a fort­night ago that right-back was a po­si­tion in which Spurs were “a lit­tle bit more in trou­ble” and Serge Aurier cer­tainly ex­pe­ri­enced prob­lems against Arse­nal – the team he used to watch when he was young.

The fact Mour­inho only has Aurier to call on per­haps en­cap­su­lates why some sup­port­ers be­lieve Levy’s stew­ard­ship is partly to blame for ley man com­pet­ing with Aurier, but he was never re­placed af­ter mov­ing to Atletico Madrid last sum­mer.

Aurier has al­ways taken risks since join­ing Spurs from Paris StGer­main three years ago and, with no com­pe­ti­tion to keep him on his toes, he ap­pears to have re­gressed.

He an­gered the club by break­ing lock­down three times and yet still he was able to walk straight back into the Spurs team for the restart to the sea­son be­cause, frankly, Mour­inho has no­body else to choose.

Asked a cou­ple of weeks ago whether he would have to look at ro­tat­ing Aurier be­cause of the heavy sched­ule, Mour­inho replied: “The right-back po­si­tion is where we are a lit­tle bit more in trou­ble.

“In train­ing we used some­times [Oliver] Skipp, we used some­times Ged­son [Fer­nan­des]. We know we can also use Toby. So, in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, here we go. Even Moussa Sis­soko did it al­ready, too. So, yes, it’s the po­si­tion we don’t have a sec­ond body.”

Fans would ar­gue that Aurier’s first-half performanc­e yes­ter­day con­sti­tuted an emer­gency. He gave the ball away twice in the build-up to La­cazette’s open­ing goal and was booked for a stupid chal­lenge on the same player. It did not get much bet­ter af­ter the break, ei­ther, as it was Aurier who was slow to re­act when Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang thun­dered a shot off the cross­bar.

Mour­inho can­not move Alder­weireld out to full-back, as he had sug­gested he might, be­cause Eric Dier has since been sus­pended and the Bel­gian is needed in the cen­tre of de­fence.

Alder­weireld ended up be­com­ing the un­likely match-win­ner, but this vic­tory is no more than a stick­ing plas­ter. A new right-back would be a good start to a more long-term cure to this sea­son’s prob­lems.

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