Although he is considered one of the “worst passers” on the Tottenham team, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s introduction at halftime helped the Spurs midfield against Manchester City, according to Craig Burley herself.
Dejan Kulusevski was once again playing as a number ten, but Ange Postecoglou bravely decided to play alongside Giovani Lo Celso and Yves Bissouma in the middle of the park at the Etihad Stadium.
The home team’s pressure forced the Tottenham midfield to retreat, allowing them to be largely overrun in the first half. Still, the action turned out to be fruitless.
Bryan Gil was replaced by Postecoglou at halftime, moving Kulusevski to his more comfortable right-wing position and Lo Celso to the tenth position.
Spurs looked much more solid as a result, enjoying greater success both in stopping City attacks and playing out from the back. Spurs were rewarded with a point for their bravery and character.
There is a lot of criticism directed at Spurs player Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
When asked about the adjustment that Postecoglou made at halftime, Burley told ESPN FC that one of the changes was his realization that Bryan Gil, despite his talent and technical skill, is a lightweight.
Thus, he positioned Kulusevski on the right and moved Johnson to the opposite side. Although Hojbjerg is arguably one of Tottenham’s worst passers, at least when it comes to forward midfield play, he will at least move around, make some tackles, and cover some ground.
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We have witnessed Hojbjerg make several defence-splitting passes, so I do not think it is accurate to state that he is a bad passer. The Dane occasionally fails to complete even basic passes, so there is no denying that his passing is inconsistent.
The pass completion percentage of Hojbjerg may be cited by some of his ardent supporters, but in my opinion, that statistic is almost useless (similar to a goalie’s save percentage) because it does not account for the difficulty of the passes being attempted.