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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 3 April, 2020

Mourinho does Troy Parrott a favour by shielding him from a night of domination at hands of RB Leipzig

The Germans were a class above from the first minute and the only solace for Spurs is that there is somehow only one goal in it.

Spurs manager Jose Mourinho.
Spurs manager Jose Mourinho.
Image: PA

TROY PARROTT WASN’T in the Tottenham Hotspur starting XI.

Troy Parrott wasn’t on the Spurs bench.

Troy Parrott was, presumably, not in the least bit disappointed to have no part to play on a night when the Premier League side were completely outclassed by RB Leipzig.

The German outfit – second in the Bundesliga – were slicker, quicker and quite simply much, much better. How they will only return to Saxony with a one-goal lead is down to a mixture of their own profligacy and the street smarts of Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Indeed, the French World Cup winner was awarded the official man-of-the-match award by Uefa technical committee member Gareth Southgate following a string of fine saves.

What the England manager would have thought watching a beleaguered and frustrated Dele Alli trudge off long before the end with the game beyond Spurs.

tottenham-hotspur-v-rb-leipzig-uefa-champions-league-round-of-16-first-leg-tottenham-hotspur-stadium A dejected Dele Alli after being subbed. Source: PA

For Parrott, the young Dubliner, he is deemed not ready to be involved on occasions like this according to his manager, Jose Mourinho. So perhaps the Portuguese was thinking only of the 18-year-old’s welfare and future state of mind when he opted to leave him in the stands, despite strikers Harry Kane and Son Heung-min missing out through injury.

Maybe Mourinho saw this masterclass from Leipzig coming and wouldn’t dream of throwing Parrott to the wolves with a senior career still in its infancy. This is the new, friendly, understanding Mourinho after all.

Of course not.

Mourinho knew exactly what was coming but he just hadn’t got a clue how to stop it. As is his wont, he felt Parrott didn’t warrant his place.

Fair enough. But when you see Spurs completely outplayed and dominated without so much as laying a glove on an exceptional Leipzig – save for a couple of late long-range free kicks which ensured Gulácsi kept his hands warm – then of course you have to question his judgement.

He no longer speaks with complete authority considering the string of sackings which are now behind him.

tottenham-hotspur-v-rb-leipzig-uefa-champions-league-round-of-16-first-leg-tottenham-hotspur-stadium Timo Werner scores his side's goal. Source: Adam Davy

Mourinho looked on forlornly from almost the first whistle when the visitors went on a rampage in north London.

They could have been three goals up inside the first four minutes. The only surprise is that it took until the second half for Julian Naglesmann’s brillant young team to break the deadlock.

They did so from a penalty in the 58th minute, star striker Timo Werner firing a fierce spot kick low and hard beyond Lloris after Ben Davies had clumsily brought down Konrad Laimer in the box.

Naglesmann is only 32 years of age, meaning he was still two years off celebrating his 18th when Mourinho won this trophy with FC Porto in 2004. 

Times have changed and, on the occasion of his first knockout game in the Champions League, Naglesmann reinforced his reputation as one of the game’s bright young things.

Mourinho, grey and balding with a skin head that is fooling no one, looked every inch the veteran boss who has been through the ringer. He was reactionary and on the back foot.

The arrival of Erik Lamela provided a spark for the last quarter of an hour but it was far from enough.

These are not new observations. They are the same criticisms of Mourinho since his latter days in Chelsea and the dying embers of what became a turgid reign at Manchester United.

Spurs, without their two best forwards, had much bigger problems in the other key areas. Mourinho just wasn’t capable of finding a way to solve them.

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