Gary Neville gives an honest opinion on Tottenham’s major woes as they succumbed to 3-2 defeat against Manchester United on Saturday night.
Tottenham Hotspur suffered the worst possible result on Saturday evening, losing 3-2 to fellow top four contenders Manchester United, falling further behind in the pursuit of Champions League football.
It was a magical night from Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a hat trick to lead his team to victory at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Tottenham responded well to Ronaldo opening goal with Harry Kane equalising via a penalty. Then a Harry Maguire own goal saw Antonio Conte’s side draw level again, but only for the game to be taken away from them by Ronaldo’s third goal late on.
Speaking to the Sky Sports after the game, Gary Neville was critical of how Spurs’ players employed the 3-5-2 formation against Manchester United.
“That system demands that you have really good wing-backs. Their wing-backs are nowhere near good enough. Nowhere near good enough. That system is critical in having good wing-backs and I think Reguilon, Doherty on the right, the quality’s not there, on both sides of the game, either going forward or defensively.”
“So I think that’s a big problem for Spurs. If they had really top wing-backs, they’d be doing an awful lot better.”
Even though Reguilon got himself an assist and Doherty has enjoyed a resurgence of sorts in recent weeks.
However, the pair were both found wanting defensively at times against United and struggled to perform to the required level.
Doherty got a lot of joy in behind Telles and was unfortunate not to get more from it, but left a lot of spaces for Sancho to exploit throughout the match and Reguilon who returned to the starting lineup after replacing the injured Ryan Sessegno was a potent outlet on the left flank, but also poor defensively as his defensive poor positioning in the wing-back role led to the move of Ronaldo’s second goal.
Importance of Wing backs in Antonio Conte’s team.
Among the good will be memories of the title-winning team he transformed Chelsea into during 2016-17 following his early-season switch to a back-three formation with wing-backs.
The wing-backs are essential to the success of Conte’s system. He breathed new life into the careers of Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses at Chelsea. In Conte’s two years at Inter Milan, seven senior contenders for the wing-back positions were signed and one more recalled from a loan spell.
In an interview with Spurs TV, the Italian tactician spoke about Ryan Sessegnon and Matt Doherty. Conte stated the importance of wing-backs and added that these two players continue to improve.
“In this type of system, the wing-backs are of fundamental importance,” Conte said. “Our wing-backs are improving, and we are working on specific work for this role.”
I’m pleased for Doherty, for Matt. He is one of the players who is most improved since my arrival. Now, he’s showing great personality, great quality. My expectation is the same for Emerson, Reguilon, and Sessegnon. They are improving and showing the will to improve.”
Conte accepts the energy to get up and down the flank is key to making the role work. Doherty and Reguilon were not lacking in that department. But defensive is vital too and at Old Trafford they were found wanting.