Tottenham Hotspur defender Federico Fazio had proved the doubters wrong with a string of fine performances alongside Jan Vertonghen, only to see his place taken by England under-21 international Eric Dier in recent weeks.
As a result, Fazio was tasked not with Premier League duties, but in ensuring Tottenham’s Europa League campaign remained on course with matches coming thick and fast.
With the Capital One Cup final against Chelsea just a few days away, Tottenham’s players would have known that an outstanding performance against Fiorentina may have swayed manager Mauricio Pochettino’s mind one way or the other. But it is fair to say Fazio did not give his boss reason to pick him in the showpiece event.
The Argentine centre-back was caught in possession on the half-way line against the Italian side and in failing to rectify his mistake he could only watch as Spurs went 1-0 down.
Dier’s inclusion has had much to do with his pace, and for that reason he is likely to be in at the weekend, in place of a player who could not get the better of Mario Gomez prior to the German international’s finish.
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Vertonghen did not exactly cover himself in glory either, pausing for long enough to allow Mohamed Salah to score a second. But the Belgian international’s flourishing partnership with Dier means he should feature.
The same cannot be said of Fazio, with the Tottenham man failing to win a single tackle on Thursday and winning just a single aerial battle.
Two interceptions and two clearances are unlikely to be enough to earn a place in the starting line-up on Sunday, with a position on the bench surely already reserved for Tottenham’s summer signing.