Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho has praised ‘magnificent’ Tanguy Ndombele’s match-winning display against Sheffield United.
Almost a year ago, the Portuguese hooked the midfielder at half-time in a draw with Burnley and his career in north London looked like it could be over.
Mourinho was delighted with his Spurs side against Sheffield UnitedAFP
His turnaround has been astonishing though, becoming a vital player for Spurs in the 2020/21 season, scoring three league goals, including his ‘genius’ strike at Bramall Lane in a 3-1 win.
Ndombele has mainly been used in a No.10 role but showed his versatility in a 3-4-3 formation by playing in a two-man midfield next to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
He defended well and then got himself forward to add to the attack, scoring a sensational lob with the outside of his right boot.
And after the match Mourinho was full of praise for the player and insisted Ndombele himself is the main person who deserves credit for his showings.
He said: “I coach for so many years, had so many players and I have enough experience to say and to feel that when a player is not playing very well, it’s his responsibility, and when a player turns things around and brings his performance level to a very high level, it’s also his responsibility.
“It’s a great example that with me the door is always open. The door of the team is always open, and when a player is not playing he has to try to understand why and he has to try to understand how can he walk through that door. He understood, he understood.
“The goal is amazing, but I don’t care about the goal, I care about the performance and the performance was magnificent and I’m really pleased that he’s come to this level. He’s playing very, very well.”
Ndombele’s position at the club looked hopeless until a meeting with chairman Daniel Levy last summer, which was shown in the Amazon ‘All or Nothing’ series.
Levy was shown telling the Frenchman that Spurs wanted to keep him but he had to prove himself in a considered pep talk, and Mourinho stressed the credit for the turnaround belongs to Ndombele.
Ndombele celebrates his superb goal against Sheffield UnitedGetty Images – Getty
“It’s the player’s mentality, the player’s will to train hard, the player’s will to be available for the team, the player’s desire to win, to earn/work a place in the team. And the player is the most responsible,” he added.
“Mr Levy’s responsibility, in my opinion, is some, but is minimal compared with the player. But it’s true, Mr Levy believed in the player and pushed the player in some conversations they had, that the door was open for him.
“And to me it’s always the same: the door is always open, but the player cannot expect for me to go and bring him. It has to be for the player to walk through that door, and come in the direction of what the team needs from him. So total credit for Tanguy, and I think also Mr Levy deserves some.”
Ndombele’s lob finds the back of the netAFP
Asked what he made of the visitors’ display as a whole, Mourinho replied: “The performance was good. The team was very dominant, created enough chances to kill game in the first half.
“In the second half, the intention was the same. A very basic mistake gave them the goal with the only chance they had, but then we had a genius action to bring us again to a two-goal advantage.”
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