The Tottenham Lineup That Should Start Against Everton

Giovani Lo Celso, Dele Alli, Harry Kane
Sheffield United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League | Pool/Getty Images

With any post-pandemic defensive improvements significantly undermined by what can only be described as a disgusting second-half display at Sheffield United, Jose Mourinho's main task for the remainder of the campaign is building a sense of optimism among sceptics - and there's a fair few of 'em - ahead of next season.

The dire 3-1 defeat at Bramall Lane all but ended Spurs' faint hopes of securing a top-four/five finish, with a spot in the Europa League the only real thing Mourinho's men are fighting for in these six remaining encounters.

First on the agenda is Carlo Ancelotti's Everton, who'll travel to north London on Monday night full of confidence after picking up seven points from nine available in their three fixtures since the restart.

Thus, in what promises to be a tricky test for the Lilywhites, here's the Spurs starting XI Jose should opt for...

Goalkeeper & Defenders

Gedson Fernandes
Could Jose Mourinho utilise Gedson Fernandes as a right-back? | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Hugo Lloris (GK) - In your typical Spurs collapse, you're usually treated to a Hugo Lloris gaff on the side. But at Bramall Lane, it's fair to say the Frenchman could do little to prevent Sander Berge, Lys Mousset and Ollie McBurnie from firing home. We may see some changes from the Portuguese boss on Monday night, but don't expect to see Paulo Gazzaniga in the side at Lloris' expense.

Gedson Fernandes (RB) - Spurs can't continue with Serge Aurier's inefficiencies in the final third and liabilities in the defensive phase. It's time to explore other avenues, Jose. However, with more natural back-ups Juan Foyth and Japhet Tanganga both out injured, Mourinho will have to be creative and he's recently spoken about utilising Gedson in the role. Why not give it a try, eh? Nowt to lose.

Davinson Sanchez (CB) - The Colombian was the only member of the Spurs backline who escaped Sheffield with an ounce of respectability. Sanchez is still raw and undoubtedly has 'moments' in him, but is certainly Spurs' most talented centre-half and his pace will be key in shunning the direct Richarlison in this one.

Toby Alderweireld (CB) - Eric Dier's horrible showing on Thursday evening doesn't mean his reignited centre-back career is over before it really began, but it'd be surprising to see Alderweireld miss out for the fourth consecutive game. The Belgian may be a mere shadow of his imperious 2016 best but he could be the man to bring just a little bit of stability and level-headedness to a vulnerable defence.

Ben Davies (LB) - The oh so reliable Davies did little to cover himself in glory - get the theme? - on Thursday evening, especially when he opted to give Mousset the freedom of Yorkshire for the Blades' second, but with Mourinho's asymmetrical 4-2-3-1 allowing the right-back to advance, a reliable defensive option is needed down the left flank to maintain balance. Jan Vertonghen is the only other obvious option but I fancy the Welshman to maintain his spot in the XI.

Midfielders

Tanguy Ndombele
Tanguy Ndombele got his first taste of Premier League action following the restart in a substitute appearance at Sheffield United | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Harry Winks (CM) - Time to get rid of that Giovani Lo Celso x Moussa Sissoko pivot. After a mature showing against United, Harry Winks was unfortunate to only make the bench against the Hammers and Blades. The master ball retainer is certainly someone who'll be thrust into the fold for Monday night's encounter.

Tanguy Ndombele (CM) - A sight any clued-up Spurs fan wants to see: Tanguy Ndombele in the starting XI. We got a taste of the Frenchman in a 20-minute cameo last time out, with an incisive pass to an offside Harry Kane his only bit of noteworthy action. Nevertheless, if Mourinho wants to get in the good books of a few more Lilywhites, starting the ludicrously talented midfielder will be a step in the right direction. It'll be worth it.

Steven Bergwijn (RM) - Spurs looked to have found a gem in Bergwijn. The explosive Dutchman's scored three times since his January move from PSV and should be a fixture in this Spurs side going forward. He was at the heart of everything that right for the visitors in the opening period at Bramall Lane in a number ten role and you can expect Kane to be a particular beneficiary of Bergwijn's excellent technique and capacity to make - and execute - the right decision in the final third.

Giovani Lo Celso (AM) - The Argentine's carried this broken Spurs side for much of the campaign but was poor last time out as part of the double pivot. He huffed and puffed but achieved little. Nevertheless, Lo Celso's swiftly become undroppable and it'd be nice to see him return to a more advanced role where he can exploit space between the lines, aid Spurs' ball retention in the final third and ultimately create higher up the pitch. It also gives desperate Lilywhites the chance the see Ndombele and Lo Celso in the same starting XI for just the second time.

Son Heung-min (LM) - It's been a quiet Premier League resumption for Son Heung-min, but it shouldn't be forgotten he isn't nearly as prolific with Kane in the side also. Nevertheless, he seems to be receiving the ball in deeper areas, has occasionally looked isolated - with Spurs struggling to support the South Korean via overloads - and is no longer the chief transitional threat following Bergwijn's arrival. Mourinho has to find a way of getting Son in behind the opposition's defence as much as possible to get the very best of him.

Forward

Harry Kane
Harry Kane scored a late consolation at Bramall Lane | Pool/Getty Images

Harry Kane (ST) - Yay, Harry Kane did another goal! The England skipper's consolation strike on Thursday evening was his 19th of the season and his 36th in 13 games under Mourinho's tutelage. All jokes aside, Kane - a few neat touches and 987 offside goals aside - was a non-factor against three Blades centre-halves who shepherded him expertly. Spurs fans are yet to see the best of Kane since the resumption - even as a playmaker - but there's little questioning that he's set for another 90 minutes against the Toffees.