Tottenham boss Mourinho demands more from Tanguy Ndombele
Jose Mourinho delivered a withering critique of Tottenham’s record signing Tanguy Ndombele after a dire first-half showing from his side in the 1-1 draw at Burnley.
Ndombele joined Spurs from Lyon in a deal that could eventually be worth 70 million euros (£62.77million) but the midfielder has failed to establish himself in his first season with the north Londoners.
He was handed only his third Premier League start this year but attracted Mourinho’s ire after Tottenham were thoroughly outplayed in the opening 45 minutes by Burnley, who had gone ahead early on through Chris Wood.
Ndombele was hooked at half-time alongside fellow midfielder Oliver Skipp but Mourinho absolved the teenager of any blame, instead criticising the Frenchman before demanding more of a return from him.
Asked what prompted him to introduce Giovani Lo Celso and Lucas Moura at the break, Mourinho replied: “My thinking was in the first half we didn’t have a midfield, it’s as simple as that.
“More important than tactics is to have midfield players that want the ball, who connect the game, who press, who recover the ball, win duels and we didn’t have it. I’m not critical with Skipp at all.
“I’m not going to run away and I have to say that Tanguy has had enough time to come to a different level.
“I know that the Premier League is very difficult, I know that some players take time, some players take a long time to adapt to a different league.
“But a player with his potential, with his responsibility, I think he has to give us more than he is giving us.”
The introduction of Lo Celso proved a masterstroke as the midfielder pick-pocketed Jay Rodriguez before laying off for Erik Lamela, who went over the trailing leg of Ben Mee inside the area.
In the absence of injured strikers Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, Dele Alli coolly slotted home from the spot, sending Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope the wrong way, for his 50th Premier League goal.
Alli’s strike helped Tottenham avoid a third successive top-flight loss, but they were grateful for Eric Dier’s last ditch challenge denying Matej Vydra, who then saw a late strike saved at point blank range from Hugo Lloris.
Mourinho added: “I was expecting more in the first half but the second half was really good. I’m pleased with the reaction and pleased with the attitude.”
Dier, as anticipated, started despite the furore which saw him climb into the stands to confront a fan in the aftermath of Tottenham going out of the FA Cup to Norwich on Wednesday.
He was subjected to some taunts from the home end but Mourinho was pleased with how the England international handled himself.
Mourinho added: “You could see that his performance was really solid again and completely under emotional control.
“He played well at centre-back and played very well in midfield so I’m very happy with Eric, of course.”
Burnley extended their unbeaten run to seven league matches and, while manager Sean Dyche was largely satisfied, he felt his side should have had a penalty of their own after Davinson Sanchez seemed to barge into Wood in the box.
Dyche said: “Football has to be careful. The lad clearly comes through the back of him, it’s quite obvious to everyone, it’s inside the box, and he gets nothing.
“If he tumbles on the floor and holds his face then chances are he gets something.
“The diving is bad enough but now if you’re doing the right thing, you get nothing, but if you do the wrong thing you get the most that’s a strange thing in football.
“But performance-wise I’m really pleased. Overall another point and it keeps the unbeaten run going which is difficult in the Premier League.”