Jose Mourinho handed Tanguy Ndombele his first start since returning from injury last night, after the Frenchman impressed during his cameo against Man City at the weekend.
Ndombele started in an advanced role in midfield, with the likes of Harry Winks and Eric Dier just behind him to offer support.
The midfield man started the game rather well with some nice tricks and flicks, as well as forcing the opening goal via his deflected shot.
However, Ndombele quickly seemed to run out of puff in the middle of the park and had very little influence on the game past the 25-minute mark.
The Frenchman was eventually replaced by Dele Alli, who came on and exploited the space far more effectively, setting up the winning goal for Heung Min Son.
After the match, Mourinho insisted that Ndombele could never have played 90 minutes last night, implying that he was used from the start due to a lack of options.
Mourinho said (Football London): “I knew he couldn’t play 90 mins. Its very difficult to start a player who doesn’t have 90 minutes in him when there is a chance you could go to extra time. You know with that player you already have one substitution. But without Dele Alli, Lamela and Lo Celso I need somebody to connect a little bit. So I have to start with Tanguy even though I know he couldn’t play. So after one hour maybe some fans they don’t follow, they don’t follow you, they don’t follow the day by day of us. Maybe they think this coach is an idiot for taking off Tanguy and he’s playing okay. I’m not an idiot.
“I knew that was the plan. He couldn’t do more than that. It was also the plan for Dele Alli to come and Dele couldn’t play 90 minutes. I would like him to do but he couldn’t. So everything was like when you have a blanket in your bed and you pull it up and your feet are left out. Then you cover your feet because they’re cold but half of your body is outside the blanket. That’s us, but amazing spirit. And that is something I always like, very very much. Because of that one more day off for the boys than what was organised, one more day’s rest.”
Have something to tell us about this article?