Player Watch: Tanguy Ndombele

he is you know!

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Oh Lordy The Athletic has more negative info on NDombele vs Jose and players stating he isn't training at 100%.

Anyone subscribe to The Athletic ?
It's not a new story, it was posted on Thursday.

From public criticism to a lockdown-busting training session in the park, the seemingly tempestuous relationship between Jose Mourinho and Tanguy Ndombele has surely been one of the most fascinating sub-plots of this elongated Premier League season.

The demanding manager and the seemingly laid-back creative genius always felt like being an uneasy marriage, and so it has proved. The latest instalment in their ongoing saga saw reports circulating on Tuesday night of a training ground bust-up the previous day. Mourinho dismissed the claims in his press conference following the 2-0 win over West Ham while elsewhere, reports have varied. Some who are close to the situation say there was a conversation in which Ndombele made clear that he felt fit to play but not the heated argument that has been described in some quarters.

Either way, what was undeniable was that for the second game running, Tottenham’s ludicrously talented and record £55 million signing watched on from the bench, despite Mourinho having five substitutions available.

Ndombele has completed 90 minutes just once for Mourinho and in his last appearance against Burnley on March 7, was hauled off at half-time and told publicly that “he has to give us more than he is giving us”. Prior to that, Mourinho twice questioned Ndombele’s fitness in public, describing him in January as “always injured”.

Since then, the Premier League was halted, the pair broke lockdown rules to train together on Hadley Common and prior to the restart, Mourinho said he was pleased with how Ndombele was training. And yet, he still hasn’t played a minute since that Burnley game.

So, what’s going on? The reality is that the relationship between the two is strained — as one well-placed observer put it: the coach doesn’t understand the player and the player doesn’t understand the coach. Mourinho’s aim has always been to try and help Ndombele but as yet, the kind of reaction he was after has not been forthcoming.

Some dressing-room sources, including a few who were previously sympathetic to Ndombele, believe this is down to a distinct lack of effort on the Frenchman’s part in training. Others at the club felt that Mourinho’s public criticism of the midfielder earlier in the season were unfair. He remains a divisive issue.


Ndombele himself is not understood to have protested about those injury criticisms or his lack of playing time. A naturally quiet character, he has been disappointed not to be playing but it is not in his nature to seek confrontation.

Thankfully, he at least finally feels free of the niggles that afflicted him earlier on in the season but, having not played any football for almost four months, is not thought to be ready to play a full 90 minutes. As it stands, Giovani Lo Celso, Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks are all ahead of him in the pecking order to play central midfield, while Dele Alli’s return from suspension blocks off his route to starting further forward.

Clearly, it’s a situation that cannot go on for too much longer — the record signing warming the bench. Should Ndombele continue not to play, then he will look to leave at the end of the season.

Spurs’ current position is that they do not want to sell the player but in the current climate, it’s impossible to imagine them paying wages of £200,000 a week for a player who is not getting minutes. As for a possible destinations, Paris Saint-Germain have made enquiries about the player, while Barcelona are understood to have contacted Spurs about a possible move. Barca’s financial troubles mean they couldn’t afford anything like the fee Spurs paid last summer but a loan with a fee and an option or obligation to buy has been mooted — if they can shift other central midfielders in their squad.

For the moment, though, despite a growing feeling that Ndombele will leave in the summer, any move remains hypothetical. His focus remains on forcing his way into the Spurs team, rather than out of the club. He’s very unlikely to start next week against Sheffield United but the following week, Spurs play three games in seven days and he will surely get his chance in one of them. Then, it’ll be up to Ndombele to show Mourinho that he is capable of the kind of application the head coach demands, and should Ndombele start getting minutes, then the situation could quickly change. Whether Ndombele’s more instinctive, mercurial style will ever be exactly what Mourinho wants from a central midfielder is open to question.

As for Ndombele himself, he is understood to feel settled in London and is enjoying living in the city, and so has no immediate desire to leave. He also loves the stadium and is said to admire the club’s owner Daniel Levy. He is not yet fluent in English but gets on well with his team-mates and is especially close with Dele Alli and Moussa Sissoko, who has taken him under his wing.

Generally, though, he is not someone who enjoys long conversations and has never been someone to especially relish talking to the media. This reticence, compared with Mourinho’s comfort in the spotlight, may also explain why the dynamic has appeared as though the manager has been swinging punches, with Ndombele sitting back and taking the punishment.

It’s worth remembering though that Mauricio Pochettino could be similarly forthright about Ndombele while he was still in charge earlier on in the season. Ahead of the campaign starting, Pochettino said his new signing was not yet ready for the Premier League, before saying in October that Ndombele could take two years to get used to his methods.

And eight months on, here we are — with a new manager but Ndombele seemingly no closer to finding his feet at Spurs. The club are desperate for the move to be a success to justify its vast expense but at the moment, there is no place for him in the team.

Given Lo Celso’s increasingly impressive form and the Frenchman’s own inconsistency, it makes sense that Ndombele is not playing. But then you think about the shimmies, the feints, the last-minute rabona crosses and long to see him on the pitch.

It’s a frustration shared by almost everyone associated with the club — including Pascal Chimbonda, a former Tottenham and France player, who was also accused of being lazy. “When you see him play, you see he has quality,” Chimbonda tells The Athletic. “But in your head, you think he doesn’t do enough on the pitch — that’s why people think he’s lazy.

“People don’t like guys who are too laid-back and when you play for Mourinho, if you don’t give everything, he will take you out of the team. He needs to step up and prove everyone wrong, and that he’s worth the money.

“If I spoke to him, I would tell him, ‘It’s time to step up. Prove you’re the player we signed — the same as when you were at Lyon, and do the same thing’ because we don’t yet see where all his talent is. Where is it hiding? Prove that we were right to sign you and then people will shut their mouth.”

(Photo: Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
 

dagraham

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Quite simply, he needs to bust a gut in training to earn the right to play and not rely on talent alone.

Even with Jose’s previous for this type of thing, if N’Dombele does that I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get an opportunity.

If he doesn’t then it’s bye bye.
 
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E17yid

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Quite simply, he needs to bust a gut in training to earn the right to play and not rely on talent alone.

Even with Jose’s previous for this type of thing, if N’Dombele does that I find I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get an opportunity.

If he doesn’t then it’s bye bye.
I agree with everything you said but i often think surely he’s not totally mugging off training as Poch wouldn’t have stood for it. I dunno though tbh.
 

$hoguN

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Mug by name, Mug by nature.
Moreover he suggested he shouldn’t play as he is a social misfit. Like not being part of what he deems “normal” is the key when judging an athlete or their sporting ability
 

DanielJohnCosta

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Mourinho needs to learn from his past and understand how to treat a supreme talent who has a differing personality than his.
the amount of top quality players he has let go because of it is a huge red flag against his name, something I don't think he can mess up at the club with our budget/restrictions.
 

hellava_tough

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Mourinho needs to learn from his past and understand how to treat a supreme talent who has a differing personality than his.
the amount of top quality players he has let go because of it is a huge red flag against his name, something I don't think he can mess up at the club with our budget/restrictions.
Not sure the facts will back you up on that one
 

Push & Run

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What really gets my goat is manure buy a player who many Spurs fans wanted last year, put him straight into the team where he has transformed an average midfield into a competetive one leading from the front. We however have a history of buying players saying it will take time for them to adjust to PL and later decide if they are good enough for 1st team which has a bang average midfield (GLC excepting who is world class potential), and then continue to play donkeys who have little creativity but can run a bit. We are Tottenham who have always demanded skill, passion and ENTERTAINMENT. WTF has gone wrong with this club? Three years ago we had the chance to dictate a PL with very average competion but blew it, but in reality we have gone so far backwards we are in danger of disappearing up our own arses. Alistair Gould, yes you were right!
Stay safe, keep it in your pants, COYS
 

enfieldyid

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No Problems with NDombele this is the man who has decided Salah, De Brunye and Robben are not good enough among a few, he is just a fraud who plays defensive football with much more talented teams.
 

dagraham

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I agree with everything you said but i often think surely he’s not totally mugging off training as Poch wouldn’t have stood for it. I dunno though tbh.
Yeah it’s a weird one as he doesn’t seem like a Poch player to me. Poch was always about run, run, run.

Says a lot about our transfer policy really.
 

E17yid

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Yeah it’s a weird one as he doesn’t seem like a Poch player to me. Poch was always about run, run, run.

Says a lot about our transfer policy really.
Yeah, it doesn’t make sense. I suppose it could be that he was training fine under Poch but when he left he dropped off a bit. Or it could be that Poch turned a blind eye to him slacking due to him being his number 1 target (find this hard to believe but possible) or it could be that Jose has higher training standards and expects more (again find this hard to believe) or it could be Jose being a prick. Or none of the above. lol.
 

thekneaf

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What really gets my goat is manure buy a player who many Spurs fans wanted last year, put him straight into the team where he has transformed an average midfield into a competetive one leading from the front. We however have a history of buying players saying it will take time for them to adjust to PL and later decide if they are good enough for 1st team which has a bang average midfield (GLC excepting who is world class potential), and then continue to play donkeys who have little creativity but can run a bit. We are Tottenham who have always demanded skill, passion and ENTERTAINMENT. WTF has gone wrong with this club? Three years ago we had the chance to dictate a PL with very average competion but blew it, but in reality we have gone so far backwards we are in danger of disappearing up our own arses. Alistair Gould, yes you were right!
Stay safe, keep it in your pants, COYS
What you're ignoring is that Fred has turned into a very competitive midfielder (one who took a year to bed in...) and the other in that three is Paul Pogba. It's not Bruno who makes the midfield, he just very well compliments it. We need a Fred type player. Industrious, quick but not all the flashy.
 

dontcallme

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What you're ignoring is that Fred has turned into a very competitive midfielder (one who took a year to bed in...) and the other in that three is Paul Pogba. It's not Bruno who makes the midfield, he just very well compliments it. We need a Fred type player. Industrious, quick but not all the flashy.
I agree. Utd have got the balance right and Bruno compliments this. McTominay has also played well.

If Jose can get the structure right then individuals will perform better.
 

wirE

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Mourinho needs to learn from his past and understand how to treat a supreme talent who has a differing personality than his.
the amount of top quality players he has let go because of it is a huge red flag against his name, something I don't think he can mess up at the club with our budget/restrictions.
Well, the reports that's going around, is that Ndombele isn't putting in a good performance in training. Talent be, he still needs to work hard and not just show up for practice just because he's talented and cost a fortune

I don't think we should bite into all of the alleged rumours going around. Ndombele's form was declining and injuries kept him sidelined before Covid-19 happened. He just needs time to adjust imo
 

DanielJohnCosta

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The amount of top quality players he's let go.

Sure, they'll be a few, but there are many many more he has kept and worked well with, winning numerous trophies along the way.

I just think there's more nuance to this than meets the eye.
you could make a team that rivals liverpool with the amount of talent he has mismanaged
 

thebenjamin

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When you read reports of Ndombele's lackadaisical pre match warm up, and sitting on the bench doing nothing while all the other subs are stretching and warming up in case they're called upon, it doesn't seem like he's doing very much to convince the manager that he deserves to get on the pitch.

He has to prove that he should start over other players. If he's working less hard than then, he won't play, and that's how it should be.
 

dagraham

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Yeah, it doesn’t make sense. I suppose it could be that he was training fine under Poch but when he left he dropped off a bit. Or it could be that Poch turned a blind eye to him slacking due to him being his number 1 target (find this hard to believe but possible) or it could be that Jose has higher training standards and expects more (again find this hard to believe) or it could be Jose being a prick. Or none of the above. lol.
Begs the question though of why was he Poch’s No.1 target when there is evidence that he’s had application issues in the past?

Just doesn’t fit in with what Poch usually looked for in a player.
 

E17yid

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Begs the question though of why was he Poch’s No.1 target when there is evidence that he’s had application issues in the past?

Just doesn’t fit in with what Poch usually looked for in a player.
True but then he was obviously happy after speaking with him and was seemingly happy with the way he trained when he first arrived as he was in the starting line up straight away.

Fuck knows. We’ll probably never know. Just hope he gets a crack before the season ends.
 
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