BURNLEY, England (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho singled out the club’s record £54 million midfielder Tanguy Ndombele for some stinging criticism after subbing him at half-time in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Burnley.
The close-season signing from Lyon made little impact on the opening 45 minutes as Burnley dominated the midfield and was part of a double change at the break with Spurs trailing to a Chris Wood goal.
The introduction of Giovani Lo Celso and Lucas Moura at the interval for Ndombele and 19-year-old Oliver Skipp saw Spurs deliver a much-improved performance and get a point thanks to a Dele Alli penalty.
While praising his team’s transformation at the break, Mourinho did not disguise his frustration with Ndombele.
“In the first half we didn’t have a midfield,” said the Portuguese.
“Of course I’m not speaking of Skipp because he’s a kid of 19 who’s played two hours in the last few days. I don’t criticise him at all.
“But I’m not going to run away and I have to say he (Ndombele) has had enough time to come to a different level.
“I know the Premier League is difficult, and some players take a long time to adapt to a different league. But a player with his potential has to give us more than he is giving us, especially when you see how Lucas, Lo Celso and those players are playing. I was expecting more in the first half from him.”
Mourinho suggested the 23-year-old might find it hard to return to the starting line-up.
“Many fantastic players in their first season, in a new country, for different reasons they struggle. There have been many examples of that. He’s a player with great talent. He has to know he has to do much better and know I cannot keep giving him opportunities to play because the team is much more important,” he said.
Reporting by Simon Evans; editing by Tony Lawrence