Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho handed summer signings Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Matt Doherty their competitive debuts for the club on Sunday, in a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Everton.
The Spurs boss has added the duo to the Lilywhites ranks in an effort to make the team more physical and rounded, but neither covered themselves in glory against the Toffees – here’s their debuts assessed.
I was quietly pleased when Tottenham signed Doherty from Wolves earlier in the summer as right-back has been an area where the side has lacked consistency since Kyle Walker’s departure in 2017.
The Republic of Ireland international has been a key man in the Mollineux outfit’s rise to prominence and has impressed in the Premier League with his willingness to get on the front foot and contribute in an attacking sense.
On Sunday, Doherty had a relatively solid Tottenham debut but looks far from the marauding wideman that scored against us last season.
Mourinho has since admitted the 28-year-old is not fully fit.
Tottenham fans were given a glimpse of what Doherty could bring to the side in the first half, when the Irish full-back had the side’s best chance of the game after an interchange with Harry Kane – only for Jordan Pickford to save the defender’s effort from close range.
Other than that, the new Spurs man was relatively solid – there is certainly reason for optimism that Doherty can be an important player for the side once he gets up to speed.
Hojbjerg’s signing was hailed by many as a masterstroke by Tottenham; the club adding steel to an area of the pitch that the balance has just not felt right since Mousa Dembele left North London.
However, the Dane struggled badly in his first outing for Spurs.
Hojbjerg offered very little in possession, while the increase in physicality and intensity the former Southampton man was signed to bring to Tottenham was not apparent.
The Scandinavian, alongside Harry Winks, struggled to get to grips with an impressive new-look Everton central midfield – Spurs were starved of possession as a result.
While I am not going to condemn Hojbjerg after one poor performance, a rethink on how he is positioned, and a change to a 4-3-3 formation, is needed for the Denmark international to have a more influential role in the team.