Tottenham CANNOT go toe-to-toe with Man City or they will get their trousers pulled down, insists Ian Ladyman
Ian Ladyman has claimed that Tottenham will not be able to go ‘toe to toe’ against Man City this weekend or they could face another heavy defeat.
Before Ange Postecoglou’s Spurs side lost three games in a row, he was praised for his attacking, front-foot play.
The Aussie manager won three Premier League Manager of the Month awards in what was Tottenham’s best ever start in the competition after ten games.
However, following defeats against Chelsea at home – which began an injury crisis at the club, starting with James Maddison and Micky van de Ven – as well as against Wolves and most recently Aston Villa, there is growing concern about Tottenham’s playing style.
Now, speaking on Mail Sport’s It’s All Kicking Off podcast, Ladyman has insisted Postecoglou must adapt to the current squad he has around him.
Ange Postecoglou’s attacking playing style has received high praise from experts
But given the injuries Spurs are struggling with, Ian Ladyman suggests they need to adapt against Manchester City
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‘The big one on Sunday is Tottenham at Manchester City. Tottenham have now lost three on the rebound. Ange Postecoglou’s start at Tottenham has not hit the buffers. It’s been quite derailed by injuries and suspensions,” Ladyman began.
‘He has another injury, Rodrigo Bentancur is now also injured and I’m starting to wonder about that, despite everything Postecoglou tells us about his commitment to attacking football.
‘I’m now starting to wonder whether against the best team in Europe on Sunday, against the three-time winners, he should just find a way to close the door a bit and maybe try a slightly different approach.’
On Tuesday, Man City managed to beat RB Leipzig in the Champions League, despite trailing 2-0 at home and playing, as Phil Foden described, the ‘worst they have played all season’.
“As City showed in the Champions League in midweek, it is extremely difficult to knock them out,” Ladyman added.
‘I’m not suggesting any changes in style [for Postecoglou]. I guess what I’m saying is we know he’s missing players everywhere.
‘And as far as I’m concerned, he has two very, very good footballers, Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojberg, sitting on the bench off-screen.
Many fans felt that Tottenham still dominated the match against Aston Villa, despite losing 2-1
Ladyman suggested Pierre Emile Hojbjerg is a ‘really effective, solid’ player in central midfield
‘He didn’t play either against Villa on Sunday when they played really well but lost at home. Hojberg in particular is a very, very effective, solid, defensive player in central midfield. Animal can play there too.
‘Isn’t it time for those types of players? If Tottenham take on City on Sunday with the depleted squad they have, they’ll have their pants pulled down, won’t they?’
Mail Sport’s Chris Sutton responded to his co-host’s questions and argued that there is a reason why Dier and Hojbjerg have not played and that is because of ‘the bigger picture’ and what ‘believes in’.
“The reason Eric Dier doesn’t play as a center back is because he can’t run and he doesn’t have speed,” Sutton said.
‘The two best players for Postecoglou have to be the centre-backs because they will be exposed.
Man City will hope to continue their good form this season against Tottenham on Sunday
Chris Sutton believes Eric Dier’s lack of pace will prevent him from playing under Postecoglou
‘It’s about the bigger picture. It’s about what he believes in. [On Hojbjerg] IIt’s all about the speed of passing, release, drive the ball quickly and he sees other people in front of Dier and Hojberg in that position.’
Despite Tottenham’s recent form, a win against City on Sunday would certainly improve the atmosphere in the camp.
But with Liverpool and Arsenal keeping pace with City, the reigning champions will want to press on.