The Republic of Ireland right back Matt Doherty made his footballing debut for his new club Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The match ended in a dismal 0-1 home defeat for Spurs at the hands of a rejuvenated Everton. Doherty went into the game as one of Tottenham’s promising new signings, but head coach Jose Mourinho singled out the Irish star for ‘struggling to play the way you want him to play.’ All of which has meant that Doherty faces a tough challenge at his new club under the notoriously tough manager.
Tottenham signed Doherty to a four-year deal from Wolverhampton Wanderers for a £15 million fee on 30 August. It followed 10 successful years at Wolves where the defender scored 28 goals and created 41 assists. But it was Doherty’s intimidating defensive prowess that made him such a target for Spurs. The North London club have been experiencing problems with a leaky defence, and it was hoped that Doherty would plug the gap.
But on Sunday, Doherty proved to be unable to hold off dynamic Everton forwards such as Richarlison on the right flank. Tottenham’s head coach blamed Doherty’s lack of pre-season training for his lack of form on the pitch. Stating that the Irish star had gone straight from his holidays to two international matches, Mourinho said that, ’Today he was no Matt Doherty like he normally is.’ Two Nations League games for Ireland last week meant that Doherty wasn’t at peak fitness, and the defender was replaced in the 78th minute by Tanguy Ndombele.
Prior to this, the defender had actually had one of Tottenham’s best chances of breaking through the Everton defence. This saw Spurs’ star striker Harry Kane lobbing a beautiful short ball to Doherty who was unable to guide the ball into the back of the net. It would have been a glorious start for Doherty who came to a Tottenham side who have been desperate to make up for a relatively mediocre 2019/20 Premier League season. Doherty and Pierre Emile Hojbjerg are the two major names to have arrived at the club in the current summer transfer window.
While it was a flat performance, there is still plenty of hope that Spurs will turn around their form in the upcoming weeks. The team struggled in the early stages of last season, and with a serial winner like Jose Mourinho at the helm, it’s little surprise to find that many bookmakers will give Spurs short odds for winning some silverware this year. Any punter who had picked up a bonus from one of the betting resources like www.bettingtips.net will know that additions like Doherty will be key to giving Tottenham the stability at the back that the team lacked last season.
Spurs managed to beat Everton on the last meeting between the two sides, but Tottenham put on a seriously lacklustre performance this time around. It wasn’t just Doherty who came in for criticism from Mourinho. The Spurs manager went on to claim that the whole team were ‘lazy’. The fact that Tottenham failed to score a single goal will have been especially disappointing, and it gives added hope that Spurs will sign a new striker before the current transfer window ends. Harry Kane failed to receive much support up front against Everton, and while Doherty looked solid and encouraging, he was unable to provide the England striker with a clear goalscoring opportunity.
The Irish star was brought into the team after Serge Aurier proved to be inconsistent in the right back role last season. Doherty put in a good performance for Ireland against Finland last week, and its his ability to make key interceptions that will be critical for Tottenham’s counter-attack to flourish. But with the rest of the Spurs team looking lacklustre, it could be a tricky start for Doherty at his new club. Spurs travel to Lokomotiv Plovdiv on Thursday to start their Europa League campaign, and then they are away to Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday. All of which should give Doherty plenty of opportunity to show his new boss his true colours.