Forget Hojbjerg: £120k-p/w Spurs star once blasted as “erratic” was Jose’s real hero – opinion

Serge Aurier was Jose Mourinho’s hero on the Tottenham Hotspur manager’s latest return to Stamford Bridge after vastly impressing in Sunday’s goalless draw with Chelsea.

Mourinho has rarely enjoyed success on his encounters with the south west London outfit since being fired by Roman Abramovich in 2015, with Manchester United winning just twice in seven clashes under the Portuguese who had only won once in three with Spurs ahead of this weekend.

But while Mourinho continues in his search for a first win at Stamford Bridge as the head coach of an opposing side since a 1-0 victory with Inter Milan in March 2010, the 57-year-old will count Sunday’s affair as a positive result having shut out Frank Lampard’s Blues with an impressive defensive showing.

Aurier was key to Tottenham keeping Chelsea at bay throughout the 90-minutes at Stamford Bridge on Sunday with the Ivory Coast full-back producing a vastly impressive display, capitalised by his late intervention to deny Christian Pulisic a winning goal.

Tottenham have not always seen the best from Aurier since his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain for £23million in 2017, as the 27-year-old has formerly been blasted for being arrogant by Alan Pardew and slammed by Spurs icon Teddy Sheringham.

“Maybe he’s been told a little too much,” Sheringham claimed on Sky Sports, via quotes by the Daily Mail, after being sent off during a 3-2 win over West Ham in 2017. “He was erratic today. But it’s not about being erratic, it’s about being strong and controlled and getting against people.”

Aurier was far from erratic during the battle at the Bridge on Sunday as he earned his fourth start of the Premier League season, with the £14.4m-rated man standing up to the task of keeping Chelsea’s €50m (£45m) striker Timo Werner quiet.

Mourinho could have opted to bench Aurier following Matt Doherty’s return from coronavirus, having confirmed the Republic of Ireland right-back was in contention after featuring in the midweek Europa League clash with Ludogorets after sitting out Spurs’ 2-0 win over Manchester City.

Mourinho’s summer signing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has received rave reviews for his performance at Chelsea on Sunday, with the Evening Standard lauding the Denmark international for serving as the Portuguese tactician’s on-field general.

Aurier, however, was Mourinho’s hero at Stamford Bridge, with the 5 ft 9 full-back enjoying the second-most touches (66) by a Spurs player and registering the joint-most tackles attempted (3) and successful efforts (2), per WhoScored.

He further stood out with two clearances and a joint-team high two interceptions and three aerial duels won, while being dribbled past just once and never being dispossessed.

Of the £120,000-per-week defender’s 37 passes, 30 were accurate. Aurier also accounted for two of Tottenham’s total five shots and sole on-target attempt, while winning seven of 10 duels, via SofaScore.

While Doherty is back in training and featured against Ludogorets, Mourinho will find it hard to bench Aurier following his performance at Stamford Bridge.

AND in other news, Gary Mabbutt has exclusively told soccer FanCast what Jose Mourinho did “a lot of” at Tottenham.

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