Jose Mourinho has insisted that Jan Vertonghen remains a part of his plans going forward.
The Belgian looked inconsolable when he was replaced by January signing Gedson Fernandes after 54 minutes of the FA Cup fourth round replay against Southampton earlier this month.
TV cameras followed the Vertonghen to the bench and showed him hunched over in his seat with his chin in his hands and staring into space.
The score was level at 1-1 when Vertonghen was brought off in what Mourinho has insisted was a tactical decision rather than anything to do with injury or a sub-standard performance.
The 32-year-old is out of contract in North London at the end of the season and has been reportedly not offered a new deal as of yet which could bring the curtain down on his eight-year spell (Daily Mail).
Mourinho insists that his decision was not in any way associated with the defender’s future and the plan was always to switch to a back four from a back five and emphatically answered ‘yes’ when quizzed if the former Ajax player remains in his plans.
“The last game has nothing to do with his future here,” he told Football.London.
“It was a tactical decision. We were playing with a back five and I thought that would give us more security for a team that I knew were very short in attack and was very difficult to create many chances.
“I knew that Dele Alli was the plan to come in for the last 20-25 minutes, maximum half an hour, and for that the plan was to change from a back five to a back four.
“You know, I decided to keep Alderweireld on and especially Tanganga in the middle, fast players, so I took off Jan.
“There is no relation between that and his future.”
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