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Dean's Debrief: Promising signs, who impressed, the deciding factor and positives taken

On the Whistle: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa Sunday media watch [11.08.19]: Tottenham match reaction
Dean's Debrief: Promising signs, who impressed, the deciding factor and positives taken

Dean Smith assessed our opening day performance at Tottenham Hotspur.

On the result...

We had a really good start and our first-half performance was decent.

It probably didn't go to plan as much as I wanted. I thought we'd have more of the ball.

We were a bit loose in possession today and ultimately beaten by the better team.

On what pleased him...

The positives were the start we had and getting in areas where we'd analysed and thought we could hurt Tottenham.

Trezeguet gets in behind and could have made it 2-0. We made it tough for them.

Ultimately in the second half, I felt we tired and their physicality shone through.

They had Christian Eriksen come off the bench, too. He can unlock a lot of the best teams in the world, not just Premier League sides.


On the move for McGinn's goal...

We worked on that.

We felt we could get some deep runs from John McGinn and Jack Grealish. It was a good ball through from Tyrone Mings, too.

As we got to half-time, their build-up play improved and their wing-backs were very high up. But a lot of it was in front of us.

On where it was lost...

Our ball retention wasn't as good. It was as if we felt we had to go and score as soon as we got it, rather than resting on the ball.

When you give it away cheaply you have to chase it and it's tiring. Their physicality was better – it's something we have to improve on.


On standout displays...

There were some really good individual performances, especially defensively.

Bjorn Engels did very well at the back with Tyrone Mings in his first game.

It's unfortunate we got caught in possession and they got the goal that ultimately killed the game.


On lessons to take forward...

It gives us a standard to aspire to now.

We'll analyse and reflect. I'll also look at my own decisions.

We've proved we can be competitive in this league. We didn't go behind until late to a top-four team.

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Dan Connor
By @danconnor 10th August 2019