Tottenham Hotspur secured qualification into the Europa League knockout stage on Thursday evening, but their display in Austria was far from perfect.
Jose Mourinho’s side drew 3-3 with LASK Linz in a game full of late goals and surprises, though the Spurs boss will be bitterly disappointed with his men as they twice held a lead.
Even Dele Alli’s spot-kick in the 86th-minute looked to have been enough to secure all three points but that would’ve only seen them ‘get away with one.’
Although there’s one name that will have undoubtedly received the Special One’s fury in the changing rooms, so much so that he’ll need to buck up his ideas fast in training before Sunday’s north London derby.
This season has been encouraging for Tanguy Ndombele. He’s playing regularly and has actually been trusted by Mourinho but against LASK, we saw signs of why he was snubbed so often last term.
Per SofaScore, the £36m-rated maestro made just 12 passes (67% accuracy rate), won just five of 12 duels (42%), lost possession 14 times and only pulled off one successful dribble from five attempts (20%).
He may well have provided the assist for Heung-min Son’s goal in the second half, but aside from that, he was lightweight, sloppy and hugely wasteful.
As someone playing in the no.10 role as Spurs’ main orchestrator, Ndombele managed just one pass per 5.4 minutes on the pitch. For comparison, Joe Hart recorded the same number of passes, and he was in goal, and therefore, not supposed to be as involved as the team’s playmaker.
Earlier in the campaign, Mourinho claimed the Frenchman had been “playing amazing” before adding: “Physically he has to be better, he will be better, but if you compare this Tanguy with last season’s Tanguy, there is no point in comparing – but he can get better, he can be really phenomenal.”
While football.london reporter Alasdair Gold has previously dubbed him “magic.”
We saw neither on Thursday night besides the lovely weighted pass into Son.
Mourinho slammed the attitude of his players after the match, so it’s certainly unlikely that we see some start again with the Gunners in town this weekend.
Ndombele may certainly be at risk.
AND in other news, Mourinho will be fuming with what he saw from £18m-rated lightweight…