Tottenham vs LASK player ratings and what we learned: Carlos Vinicius highlights Mourinho's squad strength

Dan Kilpatrick
·5-min read
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I

Tottenham underlined the strength of their squad with a comfortable 3-0 victory over LASK in the Europa League.

Before this summer's recruitment, Harry Kane or Heung-min Son would surely have started this opening group game - but Jose Mourinho was able to rest the pair as part of eight changes from Sunday's draw with West Ham and still name a menacing front three of Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius.

Vinicius took just 18 minutes to make an impact, recovering from an early miss to set up Lucas' opener and added another cute assist in the second half on a super debut. Bale also finished with an assist when his low cross was turned into his own net by Andres Andrade.

Sterner tests await but, on first viewing, Vinicius looks the ideal second striker; big enough to offer an effective 'Plan B' in tight matches but more mobile and skilful than Kane's previous deputies, Vincent Janssen and Fernando Llorente.

(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

The Brazilian should have opened his account in the opening 10 minutes, but miscued a header from six yards from Matt Doherty's cross. He made amends soon after, controlling Ben Davies' pass with one touch and, with a second, crossing perfectly for Lucas to steer home from close range.

In the second half, he nodded Doherty's chipped ball into Son's path and the South Korean scored to continue his superb start to the season.

On the eve of the match, Mourinho had said Bale is inevitably a different player to the one who left Spurs seven years ago but there were flashes of the old kick-and-run brilliance, although the Welshman is clearly not up to speed yet. Steven Bergwijn is a likelier starter at Burnley on Monday.

Bale completed an hour, playing his part with an outside-of-the-boot cross, which was diverted past his own goalkeeper by Andrade to double Spurs' lead. The move was started by a brilliant surging run by left-back Sergio Reguilon and the Spaniard again offered a mix of lung-busting runs and crunching tackles.

Joe Hart was also impressive on his second appearance, denying Andreas Gruber's on the stroke of half-time with a fine one-handed save and constantly barking orders.

With Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg already a mainstay in the midfield and Matt Doherty settled at right-back, it is striking just how quickly Tottenham's summer signings have made an impact.

Spurs have historically been forced into risky, high-potential signings, who take time to adjust to English football. This year's class have, however, immediately made a difference and not only improved Mourinho's squad on paper but improved the existing players by dramatically increasing competition for places.

In the second half, Mourinho was able to further showcase the strength of his squad, calling for Son, Moussa Sissoko, Dele Alli, Giovani Lo Celso and debutant Jack Clarke from his 12-man substitutes – surely the strongest bench in the club's history.

The game had developed a sightly flat feel but there were still chances for Erik Lamela, Davinson Sanchez, Lucas, Son and Alli to add to Tottenham's lead, before the South Korean finally made it 3-0 with his ninth goal of the season.

(AP)
(AP)

Davies offers food for thought at centre-half

The only square peg in Mourinho's XI was captain Ben Davies, who lined-up at centre-half in a flat back four. Davies has occasionally played the role previously but is more familiar at centre-back when playing as part of a three, which he does on regular basis for Wales.

Spurs have struggled for consistency at centre-half under Mourinho and have been left imbalanced after the departure of their only left-footer in Jan Vertonghen.

Davinson Sanchez played left centre-half against West Ham on Sunday but never looked comfortable, particularly at dealing with crosses from the right.

It was no surprise when he turned a cross from that side into his own net. Left-footed Davies therefore offers an interesting option for Mourinho at centre-half and he impressed as Spurs kept their first clean sheet of the season.

It remains to be seen if the 27-year-old will be given more opportunities in the role when Joe Rodon (a right-footed centre-half who typically plays on the left side), Eric Dier and Japhet Tanganga return but he certainly offers Spurs more balance and poise than Sanchez on that side.

Winks struggles on opportunity to impress

(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

If there was a weak link for Spurs, it was Harry Winks, who endured a difficult evening in the midfield three.

The England international set the tone for his performance with a desperate foul in the first minute and he looked a little off the pace throughout. Winks similarly struggled from the bench in Sunday's 3-3 draw with West Ham, entering the fray at 3-0 and failing to clear in the build-up to Manuel Lanzini's equaliser.

Winks looks like he still getting up to speed and at present he is someway down the pecking order, particularly with Lo Celso now fit again and Tanguy Ndombele flying.

Given the competition in Spurs' squad, he needs to ensure he makes the most of these opportunities in future.

Players ratings

(PA)
(PA)
  • Joe Hart - 7

  • Matt Doherty - 6

  • Davinson Sanchez - 5

  • Ben Davies - 7

  • Sergio Reguilon - 7

  • Harry Winks - 5

  • Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - 6

  • Gareth Bale - 7

  • Erik Lamela - 6

  • Lucas Moura - 7

  • Carlos Vinicius - 8

  • Moussa Sissoko - 6

  • Heung-min Son - 7

  • Dele Alli - 6

  • Giovani Lo Celso - 7

  • Jack Clarke - 6

Star man: Vinicius, 8. The Brazilian didn't score but showed his quality with two assists on an impressive debut.

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