Christian Eriksen is nicknamed ‘Golazo’ at Tottenham for his knack of scoring brilliant goals but Mauricio Pochettino says the Dane is happy for others to take the limelight.
After a slow start to the season, Eriksen has been arguably Spurs’ best player since the turn of the year, his consistency surpassing even the more explosive Dele Alli in recent months.
Alli has taken most of the plaudits after hitting six goals in seven games for his club but Eriksen has been the team’s chief creator.
He has 15 assists this season, the most in the division, and, according to the Premier League’s official website, has laid on 11 ‘big chances’.
For comparison, Alli has created two ‘big chances’ this term and Eden Hazard, one of the favourites to win the PFA Player of the Year award, has made three.
Eriksen’s goalscoring has not gone unnoticed either. He has scored four in his last eight for Tottenham, including a sweet left-foot drive against Southampton as well as a delightful dummy and finish against Watford.
Pochettino says Eriksen has drawn the nickname ‘Golazo’ among his Spurs team-mates, a Spanish term used to describe great goals.
“He is so special. We always call him Golazo – Golazo because he is capable of scoring unbelievable goals,” Pochettino said.
“The recognition from us is massive. He feels that we love him. It is true he is so quiet, so calm, he is a very relaxed person but he loves football.
“He is a player that does not need too much the feedback of the fans, the media, the people outside.
“He has always a smile, he is a happy person and I like him a lot because he does not need to be recognised. He needs only to feel the love from us inside the club.”
Eriksen’s upturn in form has coincided with Pochettino’s switch to a 3-4-2-1 formation, which allows him to play in a more central duo behind the striker. Earlier in the season the 25-year-old enjoyed less success while playing right of an attacking three.
“It is important no?” Pochettino said. “That is what it means to be flexible because if you have two players like Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, who both can play in the pocket, in behind the number nine, you must create a system that can fit them both.
“You can see with Dele or Eriksen behind a number nine – Harry (Kane), Vincent (Janssen), Sonny (Son Heung-min), I don’t know – they use the pocket and we create many different things to try to swap the position like play on the right or left, drop sometimes to try to build from the back when the teams play deeper.
“We try to play now with two number 10s that play to face the opponents’ goal, not [with their] back to the opponents’ goal.
“I think that the system and the philosophy helps a lot Christian and Dele, and they help a lot with the system and the philosophy. It’s in both directions.”
Tottenham host Bournemouth on Saturday, hoping to cut the gap behind Chelsea to four points before the Blues travel to Manchester United on Sunday.
Kane has recovered from an ankle injury and is likely to make his first start in almost five weeks while Victor Wanyama is also expected to return after overcoming a back problem.
“They are a good team, very aggressive with good players who try to play always along the grass with a very clever philosophy,” Pochettino said.
“It will be tough for us and we know we need to fight a lot and give our best.”