Last night’s Monday Night Football made interesting viewing for Spurs fans as Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville dissected Tottenham’s inability to deal with Marouane Fellaini.
Former centre-back Carragher felt Eric Dier was to blame: “Fellaini caused them all sorts of problems. Eric Dier is still inexperienced in that position but if his positioning is better, it will have a huge effect.
“The problem he had was when the ball got switched, mainly to Fellaini.
“Dier is young, but he needs to move more. He needs to cover his full back but also be able to track the player.
“Ryan Mason would have been hugely helped too. If Dier and Mason move better then can go one in front and one behind Fellaini, which is massive.
“There was so much space, mainly where Dier should have been occupying. Mason then isn’t sure whether to go with his player of fill the space. You kill it for Fellaini with basic back four play.
“They could have easily fixed the situation. It isn’t that bigger problem, yes he was at fault for a few goals, but it can be fixed.”
Neville blamed the inexperience of key Spurs personnel and the difficulty of making tactical changes within the game.
“During the game I called Mason to sit deeper and nullify Fellaini that way,” he said.
“In the second-half, Bentaleb and Mason switched and Fellaini had far less success in the second-half.
“It is difficult during the game to change things.
“Dier has played less than 20 games and it was his first at Old Trafford. It was Mason’s first time at Old Trafford. They definitely lacked experience in that area with Townsend on the left too.”
The good news is that at 20-years old there is still plenty of time for Dier’s positioning to improve. In the meanwhile Mauricio Pochettino must decide whether to persevere with the England U21 international or bring back the more experienced, yet error-prone Federico Fazio.
Watch the video here, with the Tottenham section starting at 24:22.