By Matt Farr
Tottenham defensive ace Jan Vertonghen believes Mauricio Pochettino’s tactical flexibility paid dividends in the win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday.
The north Londoners broke through a resilient Crystal Palace side to record a 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park, courtesy of Christian Eriksen’s long-range effort.
But Vertonghen has paid tribute to Pochettino for his decision to change Tottenham’s system for the second-half, which saw the club make two changes of personnel at half-time, insisting it was ‘the right solution’.
Pochettino withdrew central midfield duo Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele in favour of a more attacking presence in Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-Min, and it helped Tottenham secure a priceless victory.
The Belgian international told the club’s official website: “[In the] second half you could see they were a bit tired – they played on Sunday and maybe they’re not used to it.
“We played better and they never crossed our line in the second half. The first half was a bit more difficult. We changed system as well and that was the right solution.”
The win keeps Tottenham hot on Chelsea’s heels in the Premier League title race, reducing the gap at the top of the table to four points with four matches remaining.
But had Pochettino not found the required solution to see-off their spirited opponents on Wednesday, the race for the title would have been all but over.
His half-time change saw Tottenham sacrifice their two holding-midfielders and revert to an attack-minded 4-3-3 formation.
Pochettino’s side had started the game playing in their familiar 3-4-3 formation, a tactical line-up which has brought great success for the club in recent weeks, although it had little effect against Palace.
Tottenham are next up against rivals Arsenal in the north London derby at White Hart Lane on Sunday, while title rivals Chelsea visit Everton at Goodison Park.
In other Tottenham news, Thierry Henry has delivered this brutal reminder to Ledley King when discussing Tottenham.