Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tanguy Ndombele has been criticised by Sven-Goran Eriksson on Sky Sports in wake of his poor performance and half-time substitution by Spurs head coach Jose Mourinho last time out.
Ndombele has been in and out of the Tottenham side since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs head coach, and was handed a rare start in last Saturday’s trip to Burnley, handed a deeper role in midfield alongside Oliver Skipp.
However, he failed to have much of an impact on the game and, with Tottenham trailing 1-0, Mourinho hauled the £54million man off at the break, with Spurs going on to claim a 1-1 draw.
The Portuguese publicly criticised Ndombele after the game, being quoted by The Mail as saying: “In the first half we didn’t have a midfield… of course I’m not speaking of Skipp because he’s a kid of 19 who’s played two hours in the last few days. I don’t criticise him at all.
“But I’m not going to run away and I have to say he [Ndombele] has had enough time to come to a different level. I know the Premier League is difficult, and some players take a long time to adapt to a different league.”
Eriksson was the special guest on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football show and slated Mourinho for his approach, saying: “I don’t know [what he’s trying to achieve]. Every manager has their own style of course but personally, I would be afraid to do what Mourinho did.
“I would be afraid of losing the player for a long time. Maybe the criticism is fair, but I would have done it in the dressing room together with the player or in my office.
“I’ve never publicly criticised a player for how they are playing. If they behaved badly in front of the referee maybe I would do it in front of everyone but if they fail to play football well, no, I prefer to do that privately.”
After watching Jamie Carragher’s analysis, he added: “It was worse than I thought. This is not for the Premier League. You have to run. If you don’t run, you don’t play in the Premier League. That’s the first rule.
“When he got the ball, you can see he’s a great footballer so he needs to add something that belongs to the Premier League, otherwise, he will never be a Premier League player.”
Between Carragher describing Ndombele’s off-the-ball play as a “disgrace” and former England manager Eriksson questioning the player’s suitability for the Premier League as things stand, it’s not been a good few days for the 23-year-old.
All eyes will be on the teamsheet tonight as Spurs prepare to take on RB Leipzig in their Champions League last-16 second leg – one would assume Mourinho would look to have Ndombele on the bench to begin with, potentially bringing him off during the game.
Some of Ndombele’s better performances this season have come in the Champions League – could he become the hero once again for Tottenham in their quest for the quarter-finals?