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Steven Caulker did not enjoy the best afternoon.
The value of Michael Dawson to this Tottenham team was only highlighted by his absence against Leeds.
Villas-Boas was not wrong in resting Dawson considering how often he has played recently. Nor could he have expected the defense he sent out would perform so poorly.
Both goals Spurs conceded were a result of an awful lack of concentration and awareness of the situation around them on the part of Kyle Naughton (for the first), Steven Caulker and Jan Vertonghen. In the second half a slip by Benoit Assou-Ekotto almost allowed McCormack in for his second of the day.
It was once more apparent that without Dawson's leadership the Spurs defense are bordering on rudderless. While he is not a perfect defender, a big part of his value lies in the cajoling and organization that ensures the backline is more prepared and subsequently more solid with him than without.
Vertonghen played pretty well on the whole, and while Caulker had a bad game the 21-year-old is still learning. But right now, compared to Dawson, during a game neither can be relied upon to mold the defense around them into a proper unit.
Elsewhere, what seemed a big call on Villas-Boas' part leaving Jermain Defoe out of his 17-man squad was later revealed (here via SkySports.com) as a decision based on him suffering from a hip injury.
Despite a decent display from Clint Dempsey and some good running from Jon Obika when he came on, Sunday's game served to underline the importance of Defoe to this team. Even had he been rested it would have been useful to have the option of bringing him on as Spurs attempted to rescue a result.
It will be interest to see if the Leeds performance has any bearing on Villas-Boas pursuing another striker in the last few days of the January transfer window.