Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho did not hold back in criticising his side’s stars, on the back of the club’s defeat to Royal Antwerp on Thursday.
The Lilywhites made the trip to Belgium last night, for their latest European outing.
Spurs headed into proceedings with spirits no doubt high, amid a fine spell of recent form.
Prior to downing Burnley by a goal to nil earlier this week, Mourinho’s men got their European campaign off to a flyer, with a dominant 3-0 win over LASK.
As such, ahead of kick-off in Antwerp a little less than 24 hours ago, the north Londoners sat top of the Group J table.
What subsequently unfolded over the course of the 90 minutes at the Bosuilstadion, however, saw Tottenham brought back down to earth with a bang.
A dismal performance on the part of the visitors opened the door for Antwerp, who took full advantage to bag all 3 points.
The only goal of the game came just shy of the hour mark, when a Ben Davies mistake allowed former Norwich striker Dieumerci Mbokani to streak clear, before squaring for Lior Refaelov to lash home in style.
A night to forget for Spurs in Belgium…
A famous night for Antwerp, as their players and coaching staff lap up the celebrations. pic.twitter.com/11QXqCihUk
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 29, 2020
‘You have the answer’
As such, on the back of Thursday’s clash, for obvious reasons, a number of Tottenham’s players have since been targeted by fans and the media alike.
None of the capital giants’ stars managed to step up when needed most versus Antwerp, with a quadruple half-time substitution, during which the likes of Dele Alli and Carlos Vinicius were hauled off, having had little effect on proceedings.
And, as outlined above, one individual who has since not held back in his criticism of those on show for the visitors last night is Jose Mourinho.
In fact, speaking during his post-match press conference, the Tottenham boss went as far as to suggest that the performances of some of his fringe stars proved so poor, that they have made his selection choices for the weeks ahead ‘very easy’:
‘I don’t want to analyse individually.’
‘It’s fair to say that players with bad performances influence the team but also a team influence individual performances. It’s not for me to individualise and bring some names to the table. You can do that yourself. You always tell me ‘why is this player not playing, why is this player not playing’ – maybe you don’t ask me that for a few weeks as you have the answer.’
‘You know what our best team is. I always like to think the players deserve an opportunity. We have a big squad with lots of good players. It’s my responsibility to give them opportunities but it’s also their opportunity to catch the chance with both hands and ask for more. Tonight shows my future choices are going to be very easy.’
“You always tell me ‘why is this player not playing, why is this player not playing’ – you have the answer.” 👀
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) October 29, 2020
‘Ready to play’
One member of Mourinho’s squad who was nowhere to be seen last night, though, was Tanguy Ndombele.
The in-form Frenchman was not part of Spurs’ travelling squad to Antwerp, with his participation versus Brighton on Sunday, in turn, having been thrown into doubt.
Mourinho, however, has since moved to quell such fears, assuring that Ndombele is fit and available to take on the Seagulls:
‘Friday he is training as normal and is ready to play Sunday.’
The Spurs boss went on to bemoan Ndombele’s absence on Thursday, admitting that his side ‘missed’ the midfielder’s creative influence:
‘To be honest we missed him – because he gives speed to the team. Thinking quick, thinking fast, moving the ball quick and fast, we missed him.’
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