Football News

Burnley 1-1 Tottenham: The good, the bad & the ugly as Mourinho’s losing streak ends

By Harry Edwards

Published: 19:46, 7 March 2020

Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to draw 1-1 with Burnley ending their four-game losing run.

After a good start, Chris Wood gave Burnley the lead in the 13th minute, capitalising on poor Tottenham defending. They held that lead until just after half-time when Dele Alli equalised from the penalty spot.

An interesting affair, the game could be split into three distinct sections: The good, the bad and the ugly. But what was what?

The Good

Sean Dyche’s faith in Chris Wood

The life of a manager is a tough one, and sometimes you have big decisions to make. Going into Saturday’s game with Tottenham, Dyche had a dilemma in attack. Should he stick with Matej Vydra, who has scored two goals in his past three games or reinstate Chris Wood into his side after the New Zealand forward’s return from injury. Dyche ultimately went with the latter, and it paid off.

As good as Vydra had been in the past few weeks, he is certainly no replacement for Woods and the way he can impose himself on an opponent. Burnley started the game on top and looking to press themselves high up the pitch, sensing vulnerability in the Tottenham backline. In particular, Woods focused himself on Davinson Sanchez who had started the game on the right side of a back three.

Despite everyone knowing what Wood brings to a pitch, Tottenham didn’t seem to be able to deal with him and inside the opening 15 minutes he was allowed space inside the box as Burnley attacked. The ball eventually fell to Woods and he made no mistake in tapping in from close range, shrugging off some minor pressure. Woods’ 11th Premier League goal of the season, the New Zealand forward has broke his personal best in the top-flight, having reached 10 in each of the past two campaigns.

That wasn’t Woods only chance too. Throughout the game he continued to ask questions of the Tottenham defence, again picking on Sanchez as a potential weak point. There were calls for a penalty in the second half when Sanchez appeared to push Woods in the back on the edge of the area, though nothing was given. A similar incident outside the box did bring a free-kick moments later, however, as Sanchez had to resort to illegal means to get close to stopping Woods.

When Vydra did come on later in the game, Woods dropped slightly deeper to play off his new partner, allowing the fresh legs to spearhead the attack while he stayed on hand to pick up any knockdowns. Fortunately for Tottenham, Lloris was on hand to deny Woods his second, but it was a solid performance.

Jose Mourinho’s half-time team talk

We won’t find out until Amazon release their documentary at some point later in the year but Jose Mourinho’s half-time team talk must have been rousing.

In the first half against Burnley, Tottenham were terrible and fortunate not to be more than a goal down. They had allowed 14 shots and had just three of their own, with just one of those hitting the target.

As the half-time whistle went, Mourinho looked an angry man, storming across the Turf Moor pitch towards the dressing room – perhaps slightly annoyed the set-up of the stadium meant he couldn’t leave before the break.

When the teams emerged from the tunnel 15 minutes later, there were two new faces with the Tottenham bunch, Giovani Lo Celso and Lucas Moura. They were to replace Oliver Skipp and Tanguy Ndombele, with Tottenham reverting to a four-man defence having started with three centre-backs. The positive change was recognised almost immediately as, just five minutes after half-time, Lo Celso played the ball into the box for Erik Lamela, who was fouled. Dele Alli converted the penalty and Tottenham were level when really they should have been out of the game.

Tottenham’s performance continued to improve and they looked the more likely team to score for most of the second half, although no goal came. The result itself still isn’t a positive, but Tottenham showed they do have fight after a difficult period.

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The Bad

Tottenham’s toothless attack

Fans who have been following Mourinho’s press conferences and interviews this season will know what the Tottenham manager is dealing with – as he loves to remind everyone. The past few months have been tough on the north London side with injuries to the club’s only recognised first-team striker Harry Kane.

That injury came at the start of January but Tottenham did not act to remedy it in the transfer window. Next to fall was Son Heung-min, Mourinho’s preferred deputy, leaving the Portuguese with Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn and Dele Alli as false-nine options.

Alli was the chosen starter at Turf Moor but had a torrid first half, with Tottenham really struggling to make any impact on the game. As previously mentioned, they managed just one shot on target in the opening 45 minutes, which was easily met by Nick Pope.

And although Tottenham did manage to score in the second half, Alli’s goal – his 50th in the Premier League – came from the penalty spot and was the side’s only shot on target after half-time.

In total they took 13 shots but tested Pope just twice, scoring once and seeing the other saved. Not a good showing as Tottenham look to fight back in their Champions League last-16 tie against RB Leipzig in midweek.

The Ugly

Another goalkeeping calamity

It’s not been a great week for Tottenham goalkeepers. On Wednesday, Michel Vorm came under fire for spilling a shot against Norwich City in the FA Cup, which allowed Josip Drmic to equalise following Jan Vertonghen’s opener.

Saturday’s trip to Burnley saw Hugo Lloris reinstated into the team but the Frenchman has had his poor moments this season, and another one came inside 15 minutes.

With Burnley on the attack, Jay Rodriguez got onto the end of a cross from Dwight McNeil and fizzed a low shot on goal. Lloris had that covered but was unable to hold onto the ball, instead letting it fall to the feet of Wood who tapped in from close range.

Lloris did redeem himself late in the game with some crucial saves, but it was another worrying moment for Tottenham goalkeepers.

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