Ludogorets coach Stanislav Genchev admitted that his side were ‘totally outplayed’ by an impressive Tottenham Hotspur during a 4-0 Europa League defeat in North London, as he told TopSport.
While the most comfortable of continental victories will be remembered for Harry Winks’ 50-yard wondergoal – whether the England international meant it or not – he was hardly the only Spurs player who caught the eye on a night when the fringe players had their say.
The seldom-seen Dele Alli was efficient and effective in his favoured number ten role, setting up both Carlos Vinicius’s first-half strikes while playing a major part in the fourth, swept home emphatically by Lucas Moura.
Gareth Bale and Japhet Tanganga, meanwhile, got some much-needed minutes under their belt as the veteran winger and the young centre-half eased their way back to full fitness.
This is without mentioning the increasingly influential Tanguy Ndombele, who shrugged off four challenges during a barnstorming forward burst in the build up to Vinicius’s second,
“We were totally outplayed,” Genchev said after Ludogorets were dismantled by a Spurs side who pressed high and moved the ball with speed and incision.
“Tottenham is a well-organized team that presses quickly. If you don’t play fast against them, you just don’t have a chance.
“Tottenham were aggressive and without the ball, which is indicative. Possession of the ball was in their favour. I did not look at the statistics, but they certainly made more fouls, which is indicative of their aggressive play.”
The stats certainly back up Genchev’s claims.
Tottenham made 20 fouls to Ludogorets’ nine, breaking up the play by any means necessary every time the Bulgarians dared to attempt a counter-attack.
While the phrase ‘tactical fouls’ often leaves a bad taste in the mouth, this reflects the kind of ruthless streak Mourinho has been desperate to instill into a Tottenham side he has accused on many occasions of being ‘too nice’.