Jose Mourinho has reportedly made up his mind to avoid a centre-back partnership of Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier at Tottenham going forward.
The Spurs boss is a fan of both players but a source is said to have told Football Insider that Mourinho and his staff will be “avoiding at all costs” pairing the duo together due to what they see as a lack of combined pace.
The report adds that the Alderweireld-Dier axis is now seen as a “last resort”. Mourinho will instead play Davinson Sanchez, Japhet Tanganga or Joe Rodon alongside either of the experienced duo.
Dier has missed the last two matches with a hamstring injury sustained on England duty, and he could be sidelined until after the next international break.
However, he is a big favourite of Mourinho, who wanted to sign him when he was Manchester United boss.
Alderweireld was the first to face the axe this season after struggling in the opening weekend loss to Everton.
He returned for the weekend debacle against West Ham, when Spurs concded three goals late on to draw 3-3.
Sanchez was heavily criticised for his own goal in that game. But Mourinho is impressed with his recovery pace when playing a higher line.
Indeed, the Colombian had his best game of the season so far in the Europa League win over LASK. He partnered Ben Davies at the heart of the defence against the Austrian side, with the Welshman also impressing.
Mourinho is yet to see recent signing Rodon in match action. But if he impresses in training it will only be a matter of time before he gets his chance.
Mourinho hints at Kane-Vinicius partnership
Mourinho has promised more to come from Carlos Vinicius and even floated the prospect of him playing alongside Harry Kane.
The Brazilian was handed his debut in the Europa League Group J game against LASK and made a good impact, creating two goals in a 3-0 win in north London.
He set up goals in either half for Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min and would have opened his account had Andres Andrade not turned a Gareth Bale cross into his own goal.
Mourinho was enthused by his debut and says he can be more than just a deputy to Kane.
“He played well but he can do better,” Mourinho said. “It is a bit of a shame still, it is not easy not to speak English so the adaption to the group, in spite of having amazing guys that try to make him feel well, is not easy.” Read more…