Mourinho’s telling team selection
Jose Mourinho was always going to make big changes to his Tottenham team after Thursday night’s shambolic Europa League exit.
Heading to Villa Park on the back of two dire displays against Arsenal and Dinamo Zagreb, there was simply no way he could not freshen things up in their search for a win.
Japhet Tanganga and Joe Rodon were two of the players to benefit from the changes, with Giovani Lo Celso and Carlos Vinicius also included from the off.
However, there was no place in the 20-man squad at all for Harry Winks and Matt Doherty as youngsters Alfie Devine and Dane Scarlett came in.
His team selection was rather telling indeed and both Winks and Doherty have plenty to do to get back in Mourinho’s plans once again.
It certainly doesn’t look good for them and the boss definitely sent them a message with two 16-year-olds picked ahead of them.
Son wait goes on
Tottenham fans are going to have to wait a couple of weeks for Son Heung-min to return to action after once again missing out on the squad.
Injuring his hamstring last week at Arsenal, there was a slight chance he could be involved at Villa Park but he was absent from the squad when team news was announced at 6.30pm.
Prior to the game at Villa Park, it was confirmed by the Korea Football Association that the 28-year-old would not represent South Korea on international duty next week against Japan.
“Son Heung-min (Tottenham) excluded due to hamstring injury,” said the short statement.
Such a key player for Spurs, all will be hoping he’s back in time for the Newcastle United game at the start of April.
Mourinho’s changes at Villa Park saw him field a very inexperienced backline.
Without Toby Alderweireld due to illness, Rodon partnered Davinson Sanchez in the heart of defence as Tanganga and Sergio Reguilon started in the full-back positions.
Clearly good players for the future in north London, Sanchez and Reguilon were the oldest in defence at the age of 24, with Rodon 23 and Tanganga 21.
Not a lot of Premier League experience in front of Hugo Lloris, it showed at Villa Park in the first half as they were pulled all over to open up big gaps for the hosts.
Spurs did look incredibly shaky at the back to begin with and they needed a couple of clearances from Tanganga to stop the danger in their area.
Always going to be a tough ask to play alongside each other for the first time, they all grew into the game and the likes of Rodon and Tanganga came up with some excellent blocks after the break.
Mourinho will be extremely pleased that his defence kept a clean sheet given how they started.
Lucas excels again
Lucas Moura really has become a key player for both Mourinho and Spurs of late.
Having to make do with a bit-part role during the first part of the season with others moving ahead of him in the pecking order, he has once again become one of the first names on the teamsheet.
Running at the Villa backline to cause all sorts of problems for them, he played a major role in Vinicius’ opener as his fellow countryman scored with a simple finish.
Rather than shooting from distance with Emi Martinez running back towards his goal after clearing the ball, he burst forward and played a one-two with Kane before playing it across for Vinicius.
It wasn’t only in the attacking areas where he caught the eye as he also more than did his bit defensively with some excellent defending.
It was no shock that he picked up the man of the match award for his showing.
Alli’s new look
Dele Alli was dropped back down to the bench at Villa Park following his poor showing in Croatia in midweek.
Seeing an upturn in minutes over the past few months after struggling for them in the first part of the season, he unfortunately played no part in the win in the Midlands as he wasn’t one of the three substitutes introduced.
With the camera panning to him alongside his fellow subs in stoppage time, Alli was actually sporting a rather bizarre new look.
Sat next to Joe Hart, the attacking midfielder was wearing his teammate’s bright pink goalkeeper gloves to try and keep warm and also a pair of flip flops.
It was definitely an interesting combination.