In what will prove to be the final warm-up for both sides before resuming Premier League play next Friday, Tottenham Hotspur hosted Norwich City on Friday in a weirdly non-traditional friendly match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The match was played in four 30-minute periods with massive substitutions and rotation, making it much more about fitness and feeling than competition.
All of Tottenham’s recently-injured players got extended minutes in the friendly, including Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, Moussa Sissoko, and Steven Bergwijn.
Tottenham initially were planning to split their squad into two groups, playing one starting 11 against Norwich and another on Saturday against Championship side Reading. Unfortunately, Reading had to cancel the second match, and both Jose Mourinho and Norwich manager Daniel Farke retooled, opting to give everyone a chance to play in an extended 120-minute match instead.
Near as I can tell there are no extended highlights from the friendly, so there’s not much we can analyze. From what I’ve been able to glean online, the final score was 2-1 to Norwich; Erik Lamela scored the only goal of the match for Spurs, while Harry Kane had a shot deflected by Tim Krul on to the bar and out. From Tottenham’s match report, Spurs played well and were the better side in the opening two periods. Jose Mourinho opted to play a number of youth teamers in the final quarter, and Norwich scored two goals late to take the “win.”
However, this one brief highlight did show up on social media. Norwich midfielder Mario Vrancic posted this video on his Instagram stories — this outrageous long-range free kick goal is pretty dang spectacular and even Spurs fans should enjoy it.
Mario Vrancic with a stunning game winner for Norwich in their friendly against Tottenham— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 13, 2020
(via vrancy8/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/pYs0BPbMWB
After the match, Jose Mourinho gave a video interview for Spurs TV where he talked about the friendly Tottenham’s preparations for next Friday’s match against Manchester United.
“[It was] a good training session. We needed minutes. We needed to know the feeling of playing here without our supporters.
“Today was much more about competing, minutes, competition, intensity. It was very important to do it this past week without any injuries because we all know that in these first matches, even with all the friendlies, there’s always a risk of getting a few injuries.
“We decided to mix [the teams] and to give almost the same amount of minutes to everyone. We didn’t want to bring players into the limits of fatigue, so nobody played all four periods because that would be too much. The last period we played some of the young boys. Even [George] Marsh who was playing for Leyton Orient but joined us for this period of preparation where we need numbers.
“We’re not going to have any more friendlies. We think it’d be good, but it’s too risky. So we’re going to do a normal preparation week starting on Monday and going through Friday. And after that two more days and we get West Ham, so the next ten days are going to be busy.
“We have to adapt to this new reality, which is what we tried to do today, which is a feeling of playing with an empty stadium. We have to think that the points are there to fight for and with fans, without fans, the points are on the pitch. Ourselves and United, we have to fight for them.”