Talking in an interview after his team cruised past Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday (h/t football.london), Tottenham Hotspur manager Ryan Mason revealed that he snubbed Matt Doherty because of the defensive solidity offered by Japhet Tanganga, informs ToTheLaneAndBack.
Before the match, it was reported that Serge Aurier missed out from the matchday squad due to a groin injury. And to the surprise of many, Tanganga started at right-back instead of summer signing Doherty.
The Irishman was, of course, playing for Wolves before he travelled to N17. And Mason revealed that the decision was due to Tanganga’s defensive skillset against Nuno Espirito Santo’s attacking side.
“‘…we just feel the dynamic felt right with a more defence-minded player in that position with their threat. It paid off today. I am sure if we hadn’t won today it would have been a criticism of me not starting Matt. Japhet was excellent, the team was excellent, Matt’s been excellent all week, he is ready to play, he has trained very well.”
The decision did indeed pay off. Spurs kept a clean sheet and goals on both sides of halftime saw Spurs cruise to a 2-0 win and reclaim 6th position.
Harry Kane scored the opener while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg turned scorer from provider when the Lilywhites’ doubled their lead just around the hour mark. But one player who showed shades of his former self was Dele Alli.
The Englishman put in a great shift and linked up brilliantly with Kane and co. in the second half. And for Mason, it was a performance worth singling him out for.
“‘I don’t really like singling out players but it’s hard not to because I’m sure everyone felt it. He ran, he competed, he pressed, he created opportunities. I’m sure he’s disappointed not to get a goal himself. It was an excellent number 10 performance, I’m really, really pleased.”
Spurs now lead West Ham United on goal difference in 6th spot and Europa League qualification is now in their hands. Their remaining two league games come against Aston Villa on Wednesday and Leicester City on Sunday.