Owen Hargreaves has told BT Sport that he is not convinced by Tottenham Hotspur defenders Jan Vertonghen and Federico Fazio.
Both the goals that Tottenham conceded were due to individual errors. While Fazio was at fault for the first that Mario Gomez scored in the 54th minute, Vertonghen’s blunder allowed Chelsea-owned Mohamed Salah to find the target in the 71st minute.
The 2-0 defeat in Florence meant that Spurs lost the tie 3-1 on aggregate and relinquished their chances of winning the Europa League this season.
Hargreaves was far from impressed with the performance of Vertonghen and Fazio, and gave a scathing assessment of the Tottenham duo.
“Fazio scares me as a defender at the best of times,” the 34-year-old told BT Sport. “Vertonghen is slow as well. When Mario Gomez is running away from two centre-backs, you know you have got a problem…
“Fazio does not inspire confidence, and that is why when Eric Dier comes into the side, they look very comfortable. I think he (Vertonghen) is a brilliant football player, I just don’t think he is a great defender.”
Is Owen Hargreaves’s criticism harsh or fair?
Hargreaves is entitled to his opinion, of course, but perhaps it is a bit harsh to criticise Vertonghen the way he did.
Although the Belgium international defender is not very quick, he has other attributes which make him one of the better centre-backs in the Premier League.
One cannot ignore the 27-year-old’s mistake against Fiorentina, but it would not be fair to judge Vertonghen on a single game.
Fazio, too, is an important player for Spurs and is a regular in the first team. The Argentina international took some time to settle into the side, but manager Mauricio Pochettino now holds him very important to his plans.
However, given the mistakes the two Tottenham centre-backs committed against Fiorentina, perhaps Pochettino could bring in Eric Dier for Sunday’s League Cup final against Chelsea.
Although the Englishman is only 21 years of age, he has shown that he can be successful in the Premier League and has the talent to play against the Blues at London's Wembley Stadium.
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