Jose Mourinho has explained, in comments reported by Football London, why he decided to replace Tanguy Ndombele during Tottenham Hotspur’s win, and lauded Giovani Lo Celso’s display during the second-half.
Ndombele was handed a starting spot after scoring Tottenham’s winner in the Europa League on Thursday night.
And he vindicated his selection with a stunning piece of skill in the buildup for Spurs’ equaliser against Southampton on Sunday. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, it proved to be his last act as he was replaced at the break by Lo Celso.
And after the game, Mourinho disclosed his thinking behind replacing Ndombele, while also suggesting that he was extremely happy with Lo Celso’s performance.
“He was not injured, but we all know that his condition is not yet top condition and that is why we are playing him basically coming from the bench,” he said, as reported by Football London.
“Gio Lo Celso was very, very tired and he clearly wouldn’t be able to play 90 minutes. We decided to play Tanguy but we had planned that Gio would come into the game in the second half.
“The yellow card left Tanguy in a difficult position in the same way Romeu was in a difficult position and could possibly get a second yellow card during the second half. I didn’t want that to happen to Tanguy in a game against Southampton, which is always fair and honest but an aggressive game in lots of ways. I was just afraid and Gio is in this moment still has a little bit more sharpness than Tanguy and second half was fantastic for us.”
TBR View: Mourinho vindicated by Tottenham’s second-half display
It was perhaps harsh on Ndombele to take him off. But Mourinho’s explanation may alleviate any disappointment Spurs fans may potentially feel.
Tottenham face a gruelling run of games over the coming days. And keeping Ndombele and Lo Celso as fresh as possible is going to be extremely beneficial.
Of course, the change could have hardly worked any better at St Mary’s. Spurs were outstanding in the second-half. And Lo Celso’s display received a huge amount of praise from the fans on social media.
Ndombele meanwhile, continues to show glimpses of his quality. Spurs’ Premier League rivals will be incredibly worried about what could happen when both players are fully fit.