Tanguy Ndombele appears to be on a collision course with Jose Mourinho after the Tottenham boss appeared to question the player’s attitude and absence during the Boxing Day win over Brighton.
Spurs continued their impeccable Boxing Day Record by going 14 games unbeaten in games played on the day with a 2-1 comeback win over Brighton in North London.
Adam Webster headed home to give the Seagulls the lead in the first half, but goals from Harry Kane and Dele Alli secured all three points for the hosts in a much better second-half performance.
Speaking to Amazon Prime after the game, Mourinho was also quick to praise his whole team’s commitment to the game.
However, the absence of summer signing Ndombele – who was left out of the matchday squad – cast a shadow on proceedings.
And the Tottenham manager was quick to suggest all was not well with the France star, who has failed to find his best form since a club-record £65m switch from Lyon.
Ndombele has been hampered by groin and hamstring injuries throughout the season, but Mourinho was adamant he was fit to play against the Seagulls.
However, explaining his absence, a pausing Mourinho explained: “I cannot say that he is injured because in five minutes we start the training session that maybe you go to the stands and you can watch it.
“And he’s going to be training normally. So I cannot say that he’s injured. I can say that yesterday he told me he was not feeling in conditions to play the game.
“Not based on injury, based on fears of the previous injuries that he’s had since the beginning of the season. Two or three or four muscular injuries.
“Feeling not ready to start the game. But I cannot say that he’s not injured. I can only say he’s not in conditions, which is a different thing.”
Mourinho’s tone was altogether different when asked about the absence of Argentina winger Erik Lamela, with the Spurs boss adding: “I’m very happy with the guys and even one that did not play, Lamela, he was fantastic.
“I think he’s 57 or 58 days that he didn’t train with the team. He was injured, he was training individually. He trained with the team twice, after 57 days he trained twice with the team.
“And he came to me and said, ‘I think you need me because you are in trouble with injuries and suspensions, no Sonny, if you want me I’m there. If you need me for 10, 15 minutes I’m there.’
“So he was there, if we needed him to try to score a goal he would be there and that’s the kind of thing that touches me. I like players that make sacrifices for the team.”