The new Pogba
The signing of Tanguy Ndombele was seen as one of the coups of the window in 2019. The midfielder had been one of the best in France for Lyon and presented as a transformative figure for Mauricio Pochetino’s side.
When the Argentinian was replaced by Jose Mourinho however, problems arose.
Ndombele’s playing time diminished and gradually the Frenchman was left out of both big games and lesser ones. It appeared that his time in north London was coming to a close.
Matters were made worse after the lockdown period came to a close. According to reports, a determined Ndombele worked tirelessly to improve his fitness and physical stature.
Returning to training though, Mourinho supposedly told Ndombele he was still not in his plans. The Frenchman supposedly declared he would not then play for Mourinho again.
Comparisons began to surface between the rupture in Mourinho’s relationship between himself and Paul Pogba at Manchester United.
However, contrary to previous reports, over the last 3 months the pair have ‘made up‘ and have been working on their relationship.
Ndombele was the hero of the night in Spurs’ Europa League qualifier against Lokomotiv Plovdiv. The Bulgarian side had gone 1-0 up and had looked to cause a huge upset to the former Champions League finalists.
The Frenchman was brought on and after the north London club had levelled, the midfielder found the winner to keep the threat of an embarrassing night at bay.
In his post-match press conference, Mourinho said, “Tanguy is in a process of evolution.”
Last season he wasn’t. Last season he was stuck in a situation where I couldn’t see evolution. In this moment he’s training very, very well.
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 19: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Tanguy Ndombele of Tottenham Hotspur controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and RB Leipzig at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on February 19, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
He’s recovering from his injury, he’s recovering physically and today he gave us what we needed in this last 30 minutes.
In this moment, I believe in Tanguy. I never doubted his quality. Never. I doubted in some moments his motivation and commitment and professional attitude.
In this moment I believe in him. Today we made this decision together to not start the game because he also feels that he needs a bit more but in this moment I think that Tanguy can do well for us.
The signing of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Southampton looked to further complicate the Frenchman’s chances at Spurs but if Mourinho’s comments are to be taken seriously, the Frenchman could see the opportunity for a renaissance in 2020/21.
See also: Jose Mourinho reveals bizarre explanation for 2nd Plovdiv red card/Heaps praise on Ndombele
Mino Raiola speaks out over Pogba’s Manchester United future