Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Matt Doherty is back available for Tottenham Hotspur, but admitted – in comments reported by Football London – that he is not yet sure whether he is ready to start.
Doherty missed the weekend win over Manchester City. As reported by Sky Sports, the right-back tested positive for coronavirus while away on international duty.
He has now completed a period of self-isolation. But when Mourinho was asked whether the Republic of Ireland international would be ready to start ahead of Thursday’s clash with Ludogorets, the Spurs boss conceded that he has not yet made a decision.
“Yeah he’s back,” he said, as reported by Football London. “By the legal and clinical point of view he’s ready. Is he ready to start a match? We don’t know.
“Honestly I still have some work to do with him to understand that, but to participate in the game, playing or being on the bench, it’s good, because in the Europa League we can have 12 players on the bench so 12 plus 11 makes 23 and it’s good to have him in the 23-man squad.”
Serge Aurier has arguably taken a lot of the pressure off of Mourinho and Doherty. The Ivory Coast international was outstanding at the weekend.
It was arguably a performance that saw Aurier make a statement to Mourinho. He also perhaps sent out a message to his teammate.
Doherty – who earns around £65,000-a-week, according to Spotrac – has been excellent since arriving in the summer. But Aurier’s display could perhaps act as a warning in case his form does drop.
Of course, that can only be good news for Tottenham. As is the case in a number of positions, Spurs now have two superb options to pick from at right-back.
So it is not the end of the world for Mourinho if Doherty is not quite ready. And if Aurier does get the nod, he can perhaps set his sights on trying to delay Doherty’s return even further.