Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believes Ange Postecoglou’s tactical demands clash with the skill sets of Oliver Skipp and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, posing a significant challenge for Spurs in January.
Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr have been Ange’s preferred duo in the middle since the beginning of the season, and the two of them have formed a formidable partnership.
Both the players are technically gifted and complement each other and the team perfectly with their attributes.
However, both are expected to represent their respective countries in the upcoming AFCON tournament, making them unavailable for Spurs during a crucial period in January. They could potentially be missing four to six games depending on how far they go in the international tournament.
With Rodrigo Bentancur also out injured, this leaves Ange with Skipp and Hojbjerg as the only options in the midfield.
Skipp has struggled to meet Postecoglou’s expectations, while Hojbjerg, despite his consistent performances, doesn’t align with the desired style of play.
Neville emphasised the indispensable role played by Sarr and Bissouma in Postecoglou’s system. Their absence, Neville believes, could pose a significant setback for Ange.
Discussing the ‘huge’ problem the manager will have in the absence of Bissouma and Sarr, Neville told Sky Sports (via TeamTalk):
“I think the way in which Ange Postecoglou asks this team to play, Skipp is a good technical player, Hojberg is physical, but they both lack the other side of the game. Skipp can’t get around the pitch and Hojberg technically isn’t good.
“But this guy (Sarr) alongside Bissouma as well, they are just perfect for the way this team wants to play. They don’t win when he doesn’t play.
“They have the energy and the technical ability with the ball, they connect the back to front, they are brave and I have to say the most important thing for Spurs is that he has got to keep these players fit, but they do lose those two in January – that’s a big problem.”
Midfield is one of the positions that needs bolstering in the January transfer window and Ange will be hoping to sign at least one top midfielder in.