Serge Aurier’s revival under Jose Mourinho


Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Tottenham Hotspur so far has been a mix of highs and lows. One of the highs has been the revival of Serge Aurier’s performance levels since the Portuguese manager took over.

Aurier’s first two seasons at the club were injury-stricken as he made only 25 appearances in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons of the Premier league.

Under Jose Mourinho, though, he has become a firm favourite, starting 17 of the 19 Premier League games that Mourinho has managed for Spurs this season. In these 17 starts, he has secured four assists and one goal for his side.

Prior to the introduction of Mourinho, the Ivory Coast International was considered one of the many disenfranchised players at Spurs. However, Mourinho has changed this through the connection he has built with Aurier and the tactical adjustment he has made to his game.

Aurier has the license to bomb forward a lot more under Mourinho than he ever did under Mauricio Pochettino. This has helped him focus on his strengths, which is his attacking prowess and make him less concerned about the defensive aspect of his game.

In just his second game playing for Mourinho, the Ivorian displayed the attacking threat he brings to the Tottenham team in a home game against Olympiakos in the UEFA Champions League.

Aurier made the first goal with a cross into the six-yard area towards an unmarked Dele Alli, who simply tapped it in to net.

His attacking play didn’t end there though, as he scored the crucial goal which helped Tottenham lead for the first time, and ultimately won them the game. Aurier found space in the box and struck a sweet half volley to make the score 3-2.

Mourinho will still have to work on his defensive qualities, though, as he still appears vulnerable at the back. This was most evident against RB Leipzig, when the German side was able to get in behind the wing-back on a few occasions and were able threaten the Spurs net.

Aurier was also at fault for Leipzig’s second goal in the second leg, his mistimed header put Angelino in, who squared it to Marcel Sabitzer, to all but end Spurs’ hopes of a place in the Quarter Finals of the European Cup.

His defensive positioning isn’t great either. To neutralise his weakness, Mourinho plays a more defensive-minded left-back which compensates for Aurier’s natural instinct of running ahead. Meaning that Ben Davies or Jan Vertonghen will stay back and support the three central defenders.

Since the resumption of the Premier League however, Aurier has been in smashing form, which is a clear indication of Mourinho’s tutelage on the defensive side of his game in training. The Ivorian’s development under Mourinho is still a work-in-progress, and it might take another year for him to be considered on the same level as the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Kyle Walker.


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