Darren Bent insists Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham tactics should not be criticised

Jonathan Veal, PA
·3-min read

Former Tottenham striker Darren Bent says Jose Mourinho’s tactics are justified by Spurs’ position in the Premier League.

Mourinho has come under criticism for the way he has set up his side this season, allowing opposition teams possession and territory and hitting them on the break.

It worked against Manchester City and Arsenal and came close to landing its biggest prize yet at Liverpool on Wednesday, but Spurs were not clinical in front of goal and succumbed to a late 2-1 loss.

That sent the Reds three points clear at the top of the table, but Spurs remain in the title mix, which Bent says is all that matters.

“I have heard people talk about it being boring,” he told the PA news agency.

“I have found it intriguing, they have not being having much possession, at Anfield, they only had 24 per cent possession and there are only certain teams you can get away with that against.

“Liverpool are not one of them, if you allow teams like that to dominate then at some stage you are going to come unstuck.

“But when I hear people talk about entertaining and boring football, they are sat second in the Premier League for a reason.

“Mourinho has got his tactics spot on a lot of the time. What would you rather watch, entertaining football that doesn’t get you anywhere or football that maybe is reserved and tactical but you are picking up results?

“The performance against Manchester City was the perfect team performance, they had next to nothing, broke away a couple of times and got the goals. Arsenal was so easy for them, they allowed Arsenal to keep possession and they didn’t hurt them.

“I like him, I have always been a big fan of Mourinho, he has been one of the very, very best, he sets his teams up right.”

Dele Alli’s future has been a big talking point this season, having been frozen out of the side in the opening months of the campaign.

However, it looks as if the thawing out process may be beginning, with Alli coming off the bench in the last two Premier League outings and he could be involved as Spurs travel to Stoke in next week’s Carabao Cup quarter-final.

Bent is backing Alli to return to his best if he takes the limited chances he is getting.

Dele Alli has found it tough to get into Jose Mourinho's starting XI this season
Dele Alli has found it tough to get into Jose Mourinho’s starting XI this season (Alex Livesey/PA)

“We know how good Dele Alli is, I think he can get back to the level we saw before but he needs to work hard in training, do what he needs to do and when he gets opportunities he has to take them,” he added.

“Whether it is 10 minutes, 15 minutes or whatever it is, he needs to work hard, I know it is not a lot of time but he needs to be doing something in these little cameos to show Mourinho he is getting back to that level.

“If he does that, we have seen Mourinho really likes him, so if he can get back to that level it won’t surprise me to see him get back in the team because you look at their midfielders, you can’t tell me if they are all playing at their absolute maximum Dele Alli can’t get into that midfield.

“He is more than good enough to do that.”

:: Stoke v Tottenham takes place on Wednesday 23 December in the Carabao Cup sponsored by Carabao Energy Drink.