Opinion: Mourinho’s insistence on playing Tottenham man is hurting the team

Tottenham’s defence was badly exposed in the 1-0 Premier League opening day defeat to Everton on Sunday, with the hosts lucky not to get beaten by more goals against a wasteful opponent. 

The fact that Spurs created only two chances of note is a concern, but the bigger worry is the way the Toffees carved up the home side’s backline time and again. 

One of the main issues is a lack of pace at centre-half, with both Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld looking cumbersome and slow at the heart of Tottenham’s defence. 

While the Belgian veteran has experience and footballing intelligence on his side to make up for the fact his physical attributes are on the wane, Dier just looks out of place. 

I don’t want to pick him out as a scapegoat and Sunday’s display shows that Tottenham clearly have major structural issues – blaming one man for the defeat would not be unfair. 

But, moving forward, Jose Mourinho may have to swallow his pride and accept that Dier, a player he clearly admires and reportedly tried to sign for Manchester United, is not the solution to the side’s concerns at centre-half. 

Unlike many of the Spurs supporters, I think Dier can have a role in a successful Lilywhites side – but I see it as a squad player and someone to come off the bench to shore up the midfield, not defence. 

While Davinson Sanchez has his flaws, the Colombian’s pace would be a major asset to the Tottenham side and help the slowing Alderweireld. 

The truth of the matter is that regardless of Dier, Alderweireld and Sanchez’s strengths and weaknesses, Spurs have not replaced Jan Vertonghen and need to add another option at centre-half before the close of the transfer window.