Jamie Carragher called out Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele’s display against Burnley, claiming Jose Mourinho’s criticism was justified.
Mourinho said he “cannot keep giving Ndombele opportunities” after subbing the Frenchman off at half-time of his side’s 1-1 draw at Burnley on Saturday night.
Spurs’ club-record £54m summer signing was one of two changes at the interval along with fellow midfielder Oliver Skipp as the visitors trailed 1-0, and Carragher explained on Monday Night Football that Mourinho had a point.
“The criticism from Jose Mourinho was justified,” he told Sky Sports.
“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.
“I guarantee those three centre-backs will be on the coach or the plane on the way home saying, ‘I don’t enjoy playing with him’, how bad was that when we had the ball…. there was no one to pass the ball to’. That’s the biggest problem.
“Whether Jose should have gone public is a different debate, but what he said was absolutely spot on.”
Ndombele is expected to return to the bench for Tottenham’s Champions League clash at RB Leipzig on Tuesday night, with Giovani Lo Celso and Harry Winks likely to start in central midfield.
Another player who will be missing for Spurs, however, is January signing Steven Bergwijn. The winger has all been ruled out for the rest of the season by Mourinho after suffering an ankle injury at Burnley.