Jose Mourinho made clear his disappointment with Tanguy Ndombele in the wake of Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Burnley on Saturday.
The Spurs manager yanked Ndombele off at half-time at Turf Moor after a poor showing, and he was extremely critical of the 23-year-old midfielder who became Tottenham’s record signing only last summer.
Although he didn’t name any names in his post-match comments, Mourinho made it clear he was talking about Ndombele and said he couldn’t ‘keep giving him opportunities’, while demanding a ‘different level’ from the former Lyons player.
“We need more from some players, more responsibility, more attitude, more intensity, and we had that in the second half with the changes me made,” Mourinho told talkSPORT.
While some pundits have been critical of Mourinho’s public outburst against his own player – including former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant on talkSPORT – the Portuguese has been strongly backed by Anfield legend Jamie Carragher.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, the ex-Reds defender similarly slammed Ndombele for putting in a ‘disgraceful’ performance against Burnley.
“The criticism from Jose Mourinho was justified,” began Carragher. “It is a debate whether you do it publicly or in private.
“We have this debate all the time about managers who criticise players. I said after about 10 minutes as I was commentating on the game that Spurs are a shambles.
“His performance was nothing short of a disgrace in terms of his effort off the ball. On the ball, he was very good, but off the ball, you can’t believe what you’re seeing.
“If you look at his stats on the ball in the first half, he was one of the best Tottenham players. When you watch him in the game, he very rarely loses the ball.
“But he didn’t have a single sprint in 45 minutes and his top speed is 10th. Jose Mourinho spoke about not getting passes from the centre-backs, him not showing for the ball. He received two passes from the back.
“He just seems to walk about and not move until the ball comes near him. He likes to tell other people what to do. He was hiding and eventually one of the three centre-backs had to look beyond him with a long ball and they often then lost possession.
“He was too often standing, marking himself and not looking for the ball. Oliver Skipp was always moving and trying to find the angle, but this is the £60m player.
“He almost reminded me of when you play with kids at school. They only want to play football when the ball comes at your feet. He had pure quality on the ball. I’ve watched him a lot this season, and he either can’t run or he doesn’t want to run – both of them are not good things.
“He doesn’t like to run or defend and everything looks like he’s jogging or running like an old man. But when the ball comes to him, he comes alive. That is not enough.”
Mourinho has been outwardly critical of Ndombele already this season.
Only earlier this month he began laughing when quizzed on a viral video of the midfielder which showcased his lackadaisical approach to tracking back.
Jose’s recent criticism of the France international has also been supported by Tony Cascarino, the former Chelsea and Ireland forward.
“Ndombele’s been there for almost three quarters of a season,” said Casc on talkSPORT. “[He’s played] 27 games, and I think 20-plus of them he’s been subbed or coming on as a sub.
“The level he is playing to is not the player I saw at Lyon. He’s been nowhere near that. All his midfielders, apart from [Giovani] Lo Celso, have been really poor since Mourinho took the job.
“Harry Winks has found it hard, he was on the bench yesterday. Watching [Oliver] Skipp, he’s a young lad who’s been given an opportunity, he was substituted [at half-time] as well.
“It’s really hard on the midfielders. If you’re any type of footballing midfielder for Jose, and you’re not quite making things tick, he is going to go for you. He wants generals in the engine room.”