Well, that explains the substitution. Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said that Mousa Dembele picked up an ankle injury in Spurs’ 1-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford today, and is now a doubt for Spurs’ two league matches next week. Dembele was subbed off midway through the second half for Harry Winks, but it wasn’t immediately obvious on TV why the sub was made.
Said Pochettino in a post-match press conference:
"We don't know now. We need to assess [Dembele]. He received a kick in his foot, but we don't know. We'll see tomorrow.”
As good as Dembele has been for Spurs under Pochettino, we know that he’s susceptible to picking up knocks and injuries. We’ve seen it often, and it’s super frustrating considering how important Dembele is to the way we play.
While we don’t know whether Dembele’s injury is something serious or just a knock, the good news is that his absence will be mitigated somewhat by the quality of Spurs’ next two opponents. Spurs have home matches against Hull City on Wednesday, and Burnley next Sunday. Based on the past few times he’s taken the pitch, if Dembele isn’t able to go, Harry Winks should be more than capable of running Spurs’ midfield. Hopefully Poch will also give Eric Dier his rightful place back in midfield as well.
Actually, a Dier-Winks midfield against a midfield that includes Jake Livermore and Ryan Mason kind of makes me feel a little giddy and I’d like to see that happen. It might tell us a lot about whether Winksy is capable of eventually stepping into Dembele’s role long term.