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exclusive Matt Doherty is suffering from the ‘Mourinho Effect’ at Spurs

Rest from firing line at Celtic can help Duffy from low ebb in career


Everton's Alex Iwobi (right) in action against Tottenham Hotspur's Matt Doherty

Everton's Alex Iwobi (right) in action against Tottenham Hotspur's Matt Doherty

Everton's Alex Iwobi (right) in action against Tottenham Hotspur's Matt Doherty

The dream move doesn’t always go according to plan, as Shane Duffy and Matt Doherty have learned in the last few months.

On Sunday, Tottenham go to play Manchester City but it’s uncertain if Matt will play, given that he hasn’t started in the last three league games for Spurs, and Celtic had Shane on the bench, again, for their game in midweek.

I’m confident that Shane can turn things around at Celtic before the end of the season and be an important figure for Ireland in the World Cup games next month – Shane certainly won’t just pack his bags and walk away, no matter how hard it is for him right now in Scotland, and he’s too important for Ireland for Stephen Kenny to leave him out.

Despite all that’s gone wrong, Shane can make it work: his career shows that, he has come back from a very serious injury. He's had hard times and he is a tough lad, a strong man. So he will have that thought in his head to draw a line under what's gone on and move on, and if he can get back into the Celtic side in the next few weeks then it could be his time.

The pressure to win the league is gone at Celtic, so maybe they'll start to play with a bit more freedom and consistency and that can help Shane. He will be reluctant to just quit and go back home to Brighton, he will dig in and try to be a success at Celtic.

It's been a very tough move for Shane. I know he's had personal issues, like the loss of his father, and he's moved up to Glasgow, where he's probably living in a hotel, on his own, in quarantine. Whatever about the football side of it, that's tough on you as a person. It's hard to adjust and when he needed that bit of support, he was left on his own.

It's not always about your professional career. With issues off the field, like a bereavement, it's very difficult to get your life in order, to keep your mind clear so you can focus on your career. Then you have the social media commentary, and it's hard to see straight.

Shane is doing everything in the public eye and people are quick to jump on him when it's not going well, so having some time out could allow him to recover his form. This Celtic side looks nothing like the team that won nine in a row. They have lost that bit of hunger and it's unfortunate for Shane in that he came into the group at this time.

I think they were so obsessed about winning the ten in a row that they took their eye off the ball and forgot they needed to win from week to week. It was just the wrong move at the wrong time. There was no time to settle in. From the off the results were poor, as were the performances, and there was no chance to bed in, the team was already on the slide when Shane went there.

It was his dream move, all he wanted was to do well for Celtic and it fell apart very quickly. I know as a professional he will have tried everything in his power to make it work but, for whatever reason, it went against him.

Things are a bit more tricky for Matt at Spurs and while a lot of the issues affecting Shane at Celtic can be fixed, Matt is suffering a bit from the ‘Mourinho Effect’ at Tottenham.

Spurs was a difficult move to start with for Matt. He had done so well over the previous few seasons, as an attacking full back, scoring goals, creating opportunities. He was almost a midfielder who had defensive duties. But when I look at Mourinho's teams over the years, he's never really had that type of player.

When a player like that has a focus on attacking, it almost gives the manager an excuse to drop him. Matt's mindset is to get forward but yet the manager blames him for the concession of a goal. When Matt has played, he's played well, but I don't know what he needs to do to please the manager.

To me, Mourinho is still looking for his strongest team, and the season is more than half over. He had serious doubts about Serge Aurier and when he signed Matt, Mourinho was looking for someone who was more reliable defensively that Aurier. Now he has Aurier, who is not so good going forward and makes too many individual errors as a defender, and Matt, who is great at attacking but maybe doesn't focus enough on the defensive side of the game. So the manager hasn't got what he wants in that position and it's a problem position for him, as he's not convinced about Matt or Aurier.

We have seen what Matt Doherty is capable of but if you don't have the full backing of your manager, you'll have that doubt in your mind. You're not committing yourself to attack as you fear the manager wants you to focus on defence. It's hard for a player and Matt has suffered.

When Mourihno came back with Spurs he was all smiles, said he was a new, happier person, it would be all positive. Then, when it came to the big games, he went back into that old defensive mould. Spurs could win games – they won away to Manchester United in October and beat Manchester City in November.

But then they stopped winning and stayed playing the same defensive way and it just didn't suit Tottenham. They are a team that wants to get forward, to attack, enjoy that bit of freedom. Jose has taken that away as he wants them to be solid, just a counter-attacking team.

Tottenham are stuck between two places and they can't find an identity that suits them. You look at them and just see a typical Mourinho side which sits back and defends, but it's not working as well as he would have hoped. He has gone down the same road he took at his other clubs, going deeper and deeper into a hole and he can't seem to find a way out of it.

Spurs play Manchester City on Sunday and City could rip them apart – they have the potential to rip any side apart at the moment. But with the way Mourinho sets his side up against teams like City, this could also be the weekend when Spurs pull off a result.

Mauricio Pochettino did a really good job at that club. He got them to a certain level and the reason for appointing Mourinho was to win trophies and take them to another level. But they've not progressed as a team since Mourinho went in there. They’ll be top six or top seven, but won't win anything, and they won't challenge for the title this season.

At United, Mourinho fell out with people like Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba, he just didn't entertain them, and now at Spurs you have Dele Alli and Gareth Bale, unhappy players who maybe need an arm around their shoulder rather than harsh treatment. It's going the same way things went at United and Matt Doherty has been caught up in that.

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