During press conference for upcoming festive fixture against Norwich City, Jose Mourinho provided reasons why he omitted Tanguy Ndombele from match day squad against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Jose Mourinho said ” I think Ndombele was honest. Football players like to play football. For him to say I don’t feel confident, I don’t feel in the best condition due to my previous injuries, he was just being honest. But today we had solutions. We had [Eric] Dier, we had [Harry] Winks, we have [Oliver] Skipp who is a great kid fighting to improve, for a place. Today we had solutions, against Norwich less solutions. But let’s see. I hope tomorrow morning after training he can come back to me and say I’m ready to help the team.”
Jose Mourinho’s face said it all when the name Tanguy Ndombele came up. Tottenham Hotspur fans had been screaming for the 22-year-old France international to start games for them to add drive, creativity and power to their midfield. Yet when the team to face Brighton was announced at 11.30am, Ndombele’s name was absent. He wasn’t even on the bench.
At 2.45pm after the match , Ndombele was out on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium pitch, going through a training session with players such as Erik Lamela, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama, Son Heung-min and youngsters Oliver Skipp, Troy Parrott and Dennis Cirkin after Tottenham’s 2-1 victory against Brighton. It was not light stuff and Ndombele did not look restricted as he ran, passed and attempted to block team-mates’ passes in a variety of exercises on the pitch. The word from the club was clear, that the young Frenchman was not injured. That’s why when asked about Ndombele’s absence straight after the match, Mourinho looked like a man who wanted to say a lot more than he did.
Jose Mourinho said “I cannot say he is injured, in five minutes we start a training session and you can go to the stands and watch it, he is going to be training normally so I cannot say he is injured. I can say that yesterday he told me he was not feeling in condition to play the game. Not based on injuries, based on fears of previous injuries that he has had since the beginning of the season. Feeling not ready to start the game, but I cannot say he is injured, I can say he is not in condition to start the game, which is different.”
The suspensions of Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko mean the birthday boy may well start against Norwich and he will have to be wary of Mourinho, a man who holds a strong dislike for anyone who isn’t giving their all for the cause and putting their body on the line for their team-mates. Ndombele would be well served to see how his new head coach has spoken about others at former clubs who he felt were hiding behind injuries or not keeping themselves in the best possible physical condition.
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