Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho wanted a ‘good hour’ from Tanguy Ndombele at Stamford Bridge… it was impossible to describe his hour as a ‘good’ one
- Jose Mourinho wanted a ‘good hour’ from Tanguy Ndombele against Chelsea
- The midfielder lasted 62 minutes but it’s tough to describe his match as ‘good’
- Ndombele was subbed off for Erik Lamela after a frustrating afternoon and loss
- Tottenham are lacking creativity and £62million Ndombele isn’t giving them any
Jose Mourinho summoned Tanguy Ndombele and told the world how he was hoping to get a ‘good hour’ out of him – maybe even a spark of creativity.
It was Ndombele’s first Premier League start since New Year’s Day when he picked up another niggling injury at Southampton, a day when Mourinho publicly bemoaned his fitness record.
At Stamford Bridge, the French midfielder did indeed survive for 62 minutes before he was replaced by Erik Lamela but it was impossible to describe his hour as a good one.
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said he was hoping for a ‘good hour’ from Tanguy Ndombele
The defeat at Stamford Bridge was Ndombele’s first start since Jan 1 after injury setback
The French midfielder struggled for 62 minutes before being subbed for Erik Lamela
There was very little creativity on display either until the clock reached 60-minute mark and he exploded into the Chelsea penalty area with a burst of pace only to find Reece James alert enough to close his route to goal.
He let out a howl of frustration. Two minutes later he was back the bench. Tottenham had stacked the defence and yet trailed 2-0, with Hugo Lloris beaten by two fierce strikes from Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso.
Mourinho made his first change, hooked Ndombele, moved Giovani Lo Celso inside from the right flank and Spurs quickly went forward with more purpose.
They rode their luck at the back and might have conceded a third but Lamela brought them another dimension and forced the own goal from Antonio Rudiger which reduced the deficit and offered the visitors a glimpse of a late point.
The scoreline flattered Tottenham and the performance highlights their problems without Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
The 2-1 scoreline against Spurs flattered the visitors who are struggling without key players
Mourinho is desperately missing star attackers Harry Kane and Son Hueng-Min
Even with five out-and-out defenders strung across the back line they were vulnerable, failed to protect Lloris and at the same time were far too deep to support Steve Bergwijn who toiled up front, mostly alone.
Ndombele does not appear as if he is about to solve the puzzle as he drifts through his first season in English football almost unnoticed.
It is easy to forget he cost £65million and was star addition to the squad last summer, the man Mauricio Pochettino put at the top of his shopping list, the man to add power and thrust to his midfield.
Ndombele is struggling to solve the Tottenham midfield puzzle after joining for £65million
At Stamford Bridge he was always off the pace, found it difficult to get on the ball and influence the game.
It was a performance to sum up his struggles since arriving from Lyon.
Mourinho’s hopes that he might provide a creative force from deep and compensate for the absence of strikers proved to be misplaced.
And Tottenham’s second successive defeat since Son was ruled out for weeks with a broken arm does not bode well for the rest of the season.
Ndombele does not appear to be the player who will ride to the rescue in their hour of need and it is hard to imagine who provides the key as Mourinho searches for the balance between his natural caution and his need for goals.
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