Spurs boss Mourinho: I can’t keep giving Tanguy Ndombele chances
Spurs boss critical of record signing's performance in draw with Burnley
Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho singled out the club's record signing Tanguy Ndombele for criticism, following their 1-1 draw with Burnley yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Mourinho's injury-hit side avoided a third straight defeat in the English Premier League, thanks to Dele Alli who scored a second-half penalty to cancel out Chris Wood's 13th-minute opener.
The Portuguese made two second-half changes to lift his side's flat performance, bringing in Lucas Moura and Giovani Lo Celso for Oliver Skipp and Ndombele.
He was especially critical of Ndombele, who arrived from Lyon for a club-record 60 million euros (S$93.2m) last year, but had made only 19 EPL appearances due to injuries.
Mourinho said at the post-match press conference: "My thinking was that in the first half, we didn't have a midfield. Simple as that.
"More important than the tactics is to have midfield players who want the ball, to have midfield players who connect the game, to have midfield players who press, to have midfield players who recover ball, to have midfield players who win duels and we didn't have it.
"Of course, I'm not speaking about Skipp because Skipp's a kid of 19-years-old who played two hours of football in the last game... I have to say that Tanguy had enough time to come to a different level."
Adding that Moura and Lo Celso made a difference after coming on, Mourinho did not mince words for Ndombele, saying: "There are many fantastic players who, in first seasons in new countries, for different reasons, struggle...
"He's a player with a great talent, he has to know he has to do much better and I cannot keep giving him opportunities to play because the team are more important than the players
"They must be on the pitch as a consequence of their work and performance."
However, former Spurs midfielder Danny Murphy, who was speaking on BBC's Match of the Day, believes it's unfair to pin the blame on the 23-year-old Frenchman.
"It was unjustified, to be honest," said Murphy.
"There were at least six of them, seven of them, who were not quite at the races in the first half. We are also talking about Burnley's quality and tenacity, and willingness to get at them and stop them playing.
"Ndombele was no worse than half a dozen others. So, it is harsh to use him as a scapegoat... you cannot blame Ndombele for the first half. Burnley were quality and Tottenham were tactically wrong."
HEFTY PRICE TAG
Former Spurs captain Michael Dawson, who was speaking on Sky Sports, believes Ndombele's hefty price tag has raised expectations to a level that the player has yet to meet.
He said: "When you get bought for that kind of money, you come with big expectations. He has to perform, Jose spoke about him a few weeks ago, and he's carrying a big price tag, and he's going to have to do that.
"Get on the ball when he plays, have energy, you have to have it in the Premier League, you can't play at your own pace. You've got to get after it."
Mourinho will be hoping that Ndombele gets the message ahead of their visit to RB Leipzig for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday morning. The German side have a 1-0 lead, thanks to Timo Werner's away goal.