Tottenham beat Real Madrid 1-0 in Munich as the Audi Cup got underway on Tuesday afternoon.
Zinedine Zidane’s side failed to bounce back from an embarrassing 7-3 defeat to local rivals Atletico Madrid, going down to Harry Kane’s winner midway through the first half.
Madrid have looked out of sorts throughout the pre-season campaign, and although they were slightly sharper than their last outing, concerns over their readiness for the new season will continue to circulate.
Here are five things we learned from Spurs’ second pre-season victory.
1. Danny Rose’s future is far from decided
Tottenham left Danny Rose out of the squad that travelled to Asia. The defender missed matches against Juventus and Manchester United with Spurs revealing he had remained in England to explore possibilities with other clubs.
But having failed to secure a transfer, Rose was included in the Audi Cup squad and duly started against Real Madrid. It seems the 29-year-old’s future is far from decided, meaning he could stick around and remain Mauricio Pochettino’s first-choice left-back.
Spurs have been linked with Fulham teenager Ryan Sessegnon, who would be an ideal long-term replacement for Rose. However, a deal for Sessegnon doesn’t appear to be close. Perhaps the Londoners are waiting to see if Rose leaves before making their move so that they are not overcrowded on the left.
2. Pochettino’s full-back requirements may have changed
On the other side of the pitch to Rose was Juan Foyth. With Kieran Trippier having left and no sign of a replacement on the horizon, it looks like Foyth – traditionally a centre-back – could be Tottenham’s first-choice right-back this season, which would mark a shift in Pochettino’s approach to width.
Historically, Pochettino has deployed pacy full-backs who like to get into the final third; Rose and Kyle Walker were emblematic of the Argentinian’s original system. Now, however, Pochettino doesn’t seem as keen to use full-backs as the primary source of attacking width.
Rose will still get forward, but we’re likely to see Davies and Foyth line up on the flanks fairly often this term. Does this suggest Pochettino has a newfound preference for defensive stability? Or is he merely working with what he has at his disposal? Time will tell as Spurs’ Premier League opener approaches.
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3. Real Madrid need to gather momentum quickly
Real’s only pre-season win so far came against Arsenal via a penalty shootout. Aside from that they have lost to Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid (in humiliating fashion) and Tottenham, sides they could come up against in the Champions League this season.
Arguably more concerning than the pre-season results, which in truth are rather unimportant, has been the lack of energy on show amid the Madrid players. Particularly in the first half, Spurs had far more zip about them. It was as if the Londoners had played more warm-up games than their opponent when in fact they’ve had fewer.
Zidane’s men picked up the pace after the break but there is still a sense of worry going into the La Liga curtain-raiser. Madrid need to gather momentum quickly before the campaign begins or they risk starting slowly and losing ground on title rivals Barcelona at a dangerously early stage.
4. Hazard shows promise but goals will be expected
Still getting used to his new surroundings, Eden Hazard can be excused for not hitting the ground running in a Madrid shirt. The Belgian showed signs of promise against one of his old adversaries, typically finding space for a couple of shots with some fine shimmying but failing to find the net.
He came closest to scoring in the second half, evading his markers and getting to a second ball first but seeing a low shot blocked by Spurs youngster Japhet Tanganga. The Real Madrid fans will be hoping Hazard finds his clinical edge sooner rather than later.
Having hit the 20-goal mark for the first time last season, Hazard will be expected to be one of Real’s main goal sources this term, which puts extra pressure on the 28-year-old’s shoulders. It will intriguing to see how he deals with it.
5. Troy Parrott might be Harry Kane’s new deputy
Kane had a big say, as he so often does, scoring the only goal of the game. His dinked finish came after he capitalised on a Marcelo mistake; the left-back stretched to keep the ball in play but inadvertently sent Kane through. As usual, Tottenham will be reliant on their talisman in front of goal this season.
Which begs the question: who will deputise for Kane if he suffers another ankle injury? Fernando Llorente has left the club and a senior centre-forward will be difficult to attract before the window shuts. Perhaps, then, 17-year-old Troy Parrott will be trusted to take his pre-season form into the competitive campaign.
Parrott hasn’t scored for Spurs but he has looked sharp, hitting the post against Madrid and forcing Gianluigi Buffon into a low save against Juventus, which led to a Lucas Moura goal. Pochettino has put faith in youth before, and Parrott could be the latest beneficiary of that.