Why Tottenham must move away from back-three formation | Oh What A Night

Tottenham have begun life after Antonio Conte the way that it ended under the Italian – humiliating themselves in unprecedented fashion against Premier League strugglers.

Spurs near enough soiled themselves in Monday’s 1-1 draw at Everton, failing to make their one-man and one-goal advantage count, losing Lucas Moura to a red card and simply watching on as Michael Keane scored a last-minute screamer.

Interim boss Cristian Stellini stuck to a back-three formation even when Tottenham were playing against ten men and was made to pay the price.

90min‘s Sean Walsh and Jude Summerfield discussed Spurs’ eternal bond to such a system on the latest edition of the Oh What A Night podcast…


Sean: “I’m so sick of three-at-the-back.”

Jude: “Even when Mauricio Pochettino did it?”

Sean: “I was talking to someone about this yesterday. The difference when Poch did it wasn’t strictly to contain the opposition. When Poch did it, he had a super athletic team – Kyle Walker and Danny Rose were the wing-backs, Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama in midfield, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen as the two number tens, there so much ground being covered. It was different.

“Even when Antonio Conte was at Chelsea, it maximised all their athletic players so it was as if the system itself added another player. We were just playing three at the back because he didn’t know how to coach any other way, and we don’t have the players to add that extra player [via the system]. If anything, it takes one away, it exposes our glaring technical problems.”

Jude: “Towards the end of Conte’s reign, it was funny seeing five players, all of whom you know can’t really pass a ball, just lined up in a backline and being like, alright, we’ll give it to Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg and see how that goes! Is there any sort of build up going on, is it just side-to-side? I don’t really know what’s going on.”

Sean: “I really have an issue with recruitment in this regard because I remember on the opening day of the 2020/21 season, I went through the 4-2-3-1 that Jose Mourinho played, I went through the lineup and was like ‘I trust one player with the ball at their feet’, and that was Harry Kane!”


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