Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho has taken a swipe at midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and claimed that he cannot keep on giving him opportunities.
The 23-year-old was less than impressive as the Lilywhites played out a 1-1 league draw against Burnley on Saturday.
The result leaves Tottenham seven points adrift of the top four with nine games remaining.
Ndombele was substituted along with Oliver Skipp at half-time as Spurs trailed 1-0 to Sean Dyche’s men, with the performance leaving little for the visiting support to cheer about.
Tottenham put on an improved display during the second-half following the introduction of Giovani Lo Celso and Lucas Moura, with Dele Alli netting the equaliser.
Mourinho selected Ndombele as the Spurs man that needs to improve after the draw at Turf Moor.
“I hope that he (Ndombele) uses every minute on the pitch, and every minute knowing what the Premier League, is to improve. There are many fantastic players that in first seasons in new countries, for different reasons, struggle. There are many examples,” Mourinho said as reported by Sky Sports.
“He’s a player with a great talent, and he has to know he has to do much better, and I cannot keep giving him opportunities to play because the team is more important than the players, and they must be on the pitch as a consequence of their work and performance.
“I was not expecting to be losing at half-time, and then bring Lucas and Lo Celso on with 30 or 35 minutes left to try to attack the game, but we conceded the goal and the problem was not the goal, but we did not have midfield players to get the ball and assume the responsibility of building from the back.
“Many times we had to go long because midfield players were hidden.”
Ndombele joined Spurs last summer for £65 million, becoming the club’s most expensive signing in history.
He has so far not lived up to expectations and gone on to make just 12 Premier League starts to date.
Tottenham are clearly not the same team that they were during the previous five years under Mauricio Pochettino.
Without the presence of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, the attack of the team has been severely depleted, which is showing at present.
It is difficult to see Tottenham finishing in the top four this season.
Even if they do not finish in the top four this season, it will not be fair to judge Mourinho negatively based on that.
The self-proclaimed “special one” inherited a side which was low on confidence and which was not looking like it would finish in the top four.
He needs to be given at least one full season before he can be accurately judged.