The biggest talking point coming out of Jose Mourinho’s press conference ahead of tomorrow’s match at Sheffield United is only indirectly about injuries.
With Japhet Tanganga out indefinitely with a stress injury to his lower back and Kyle Walker-Peters on loan at Southampton, it means Tottenham Hotspur don’t really have a good option at right back if something were to happen to Serge Aurier. Jose Mourinho addressed this in the press conference, saying that the team has been workshopping options at that position should Serge be ruled out due to injury or exhaustion. Some of the options are ones you’d expect, but some of them get... well, a little weird.
“Yes. We don’t have Japhet and Foyth, which is a boy who played there with Argentina and under Mauricio a few times. The right-back position is not available so I’d yes it’s where are a little bit more in trouble.
In training we did sometimes Skipp, we did sometimes Gedson. We know we can also do Toby because a few years ago he used to do that sometimes with Atletico Madrid, and Southampton I think he did sometimes a couple of times.
“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.”
Moussa Sissoko and Toby Alderweireld are the two you might expect to deputize at right back if needed — we’ve seen both of them there before. Alderweireld in particular has played at right back on numerous occasions for Belgium, so it wouldn’t be a stretch.
But Gedson? Oliver Skipp? Wild. Gedson you can kind of cock your head, squint, and maybe make a case for it — he’s a weird player who’s good at dribbling but kind of a mystery box. It’s not impossible that he’d be an option there, and might even be a good one! His defensive efficacy is somewhat in question, but that could be mitigated in a number of different ways, and that’s an issue even with Serge in the squad.
Oliver Skipp? Nope, I have NO idea on that one. Thankfully this doesn’t seem to be an issue we’ll have to worry about unless/until Serge’s legs fall off.
Mourinho also noted that if Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League this season it could have an adverse impact on their transfer finances. However, he also downplayed the impact this would have, saying that Spurs don’t need significant improvement to be competitive going forward.
“That’s normal. A team that qualifies or doesn’t qualify for the Champions League, it makes a difference to their economical situation. That’s easy to understand and easy to accept.
“The two good things are that Mr Levy wants what I want. He wants what the fans want, which is to win football matches and to try to win trophies. So that’s one good thing.
“The second good thing is that we don’t need much. We don’t need many players. We don’t need huge investment. That’s not our profile as a club. With or without COVID, with or without Champions League, so I think we will manage. It doesn’t matter what happens in terms of the table, we will manage to improve our squad which is what we want.”
Spurs are also without Juan Foyth, who is recovering from a knee injury and will likely miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season. Sheffied are without midfielder John Lundstram and defender Jack O’Connell, both of whom are expected to miss the match.