Divisive defender Matt Doherty answered his harshest Tottenham Hotspur critics with an impressive performance on Wednesday evening.
Spurs advanced into the final 16 of the Europa League with another resounding victory over Austrian minnows Wolfsberger AC, the second-leg result of 4-0 took the aggregate score to a whopping 8-1 win.
In the lead up to the encounter, reports had surfaced via ESPN that claimed the 29-year-old Irishman was facing a dubious future in north London as Jose Mourinho remained unconvinced about his ability to deliver in a Spurs shirt.
It’s thought that the Portuguese is mulling up whether or not to put the £15m summer signing on the transfer list come the end of the campaign, but after performances like that, he may want to think twice.
In response to the emerging news, much of the Hotspur faithful were quick to slam Doherty. As seen via This is Futbol, many urged the club to get rid – for example, one supporter dubbed him “awful” whilst another questioned whether he was actually a footballer.
Should Spurs keep or sell Doherty?
Considering the vast change in system from Nuno Santo’s back-five set-up at Molineux, it was always going to be hard for the £18m-rated defender to simply slot right in with Mourinho usually deploying a flat back-four.
And in the win over Wolfsberger, Doherty rose to the challenge of proving so many wrong.
Dele Alli will quite rightly take most of the plaudits, having recorded two assists and a sublime bicycle kick, but Doherty matched him in terms of creativity as the right-back notched a joint-high three key passes.
He also worked hard defensively, both on and off the ball – no Spurs player matched his three tackles, whilst he only lost two of his eight duels (75%), via SofaScore.
The former statistic is way above what he would normally achieve in the Premier League, having averaged 1.6 tackles per game, whilst he also outperformed in terms of creativity as he averages only 0.6 key passes per game, as per WhoScored.
Dan Kilpatrick at the Evening Standard was also impressed with Doherty as he handed him a 7/10 rating – again, the best across the backline – whilst football.london’s Alasdair Gold believed he was the man ‘trying to make things happen’ for Spurs.
All in all, the £60k-per-week dynamo silenced his detractors with an outstanding display. That should be enough to for both Mourinho and some of the fanbase to hold fire over the next few weeks.
AND in other news, Mourinho handed a major double injury boost this week…