Peter Crouch played for both Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City during his illustrious career in the Premier League. After playing for Spurs between 2009-11 (his second spell with Spurs), he left for Stoke City and played there for almost eight years.
That gave him more than enough time to know the tactics that were deployed at the club by various managers during that time- more prominently Tony Pulis and Mark Hughes.
Stoke, being a club that was largely concerned with Premier League safety, often deployed tactics of trying to defend in numbers and intimidate the opposition on the other with set pieces and crosses.
While it isn’t quite clear what tactics Crouch is referring to in his comments below, he does believe that Tottenham are now playing like the Potters did during the Englishman’s time at the Britannia Stadium.
Speaking after Spurs’ disappointing 0-0 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night, he said on BT Sport (h/t Evening Standard):
“I’ve played this way at Stoke. Tottenham have got enough players to not play this way, I think they can be a little bit more expansive.”
“But if you do play this way, you’ve got to get out to people, you’ve got to get out to the ball, it’s got to be more progressive, it’s got to be with more aggression.”
Perhaps he could be referring to Spurs’ tendency to defend first and attack second – which isn’t a tactic set in stone but something the club’s fans would have noticed when seeing the team play in recent months.
Spurs have a lot of attacking players that are world-class. It won’t hurt once in a while to take the game to the opposition and attack with intensity.
Conte claimed before the draw against Frankfurt that he wants his players to be in position and play sensibly so that the team doesn’t concede a lot of goals in one game. That’s what we saw against Arsenal, where despite playing for 30 minutes with 10 men, we conceded just one.
No one can have everything. Leeds United under Marcelo Bielsa employed a Gung-Ho attacking style that saw them concede goals as well. It’s best to trust Conte and not use a couple of bad games to criticise tactics that we were praising when the team was on a good run.