Jose Mourinho has revealed that he can play with an extra creative midfielder in the middle of the park now that Tanguy Ndombele is fit enough to play in a deeper role.
Tottenham have struggled to create too many clear-cut chances in the three halves of football they have now played without Harry Kane.
Mourinho admitted that Tottenham are not only missing Harry Kane’s creativity in possession but also the striker’s ability to drop deep and open up space for the likes of Son Heung-min to run in-behind.
When asked whether Spurs need Dele Alli back to help fill the void, the Tottenham boss told Football.London: “Harry is Harry. It’s not just about creativity. It’s about dynamics. The team has dynamics that you lose. You lose these dynamics when one player is missing. Everybody knows, every opponent knows, and even so, is not so easy for them to block that connection, to block those dynamics.
“So sometimes it’s not just about being creative, because we have other players that can create attacking situations. It’s more about the dynamics that the team has, the stability that team has, with a certain way of playing.
“Harry is only one, Harry and nobody can replace him in terms of these dynamics. Dele is an attacking creative player, the same as Gio Lo Celso is, the same as Tanguy. And of course we need them all. Of course we need them all.”
However, the Portuguese coach insisted that Spurs now afford to play Ndombele alongside one of either Lo Celso or Dele, as the former Lyon man has improved the defensive side of his game.
The Spurs boss explained how that was not the case previously as the French international was lacking the stamina needed to play a more box-to-box role, which is why he was being used as a number ten.
He added: “Tanguy was, in the beginning of the season, when we were trying to make him a Player, with a capital P, is a player in all his dimensions and potential, we had to start with him being a number 10. He didn’t have the discipline, he didn’t have the strength, he didn’t have the stamina to be a midfield player, and in that moment we could say ‘well, it’s Tanguy or Dele in the team’. ‘It’s Tanguy or Gio Lo Celso.’
“In this moment, the evolution of Tanguy brought him in one direction where he is very complete. He is very good defensively too. He lasts the 90 minutes without any kind of problem.
“If you remember last season, you remember clearly that Tanguy, even in short periods, he was struggling to keep that intensity. Tanguy now is a midfeld player. And that opens the space where is not any more about Tanguy or Dele, Tanguy or Gio, can be Tanguy and Gio, or Tanguy and Dele.
“So basically this is, I believe, very good window of opportunity for them. We need them back, and Gio is further to be back , because his injury still will take a month or something like that, in Dele’s case, I believe is very close to back, but then he has to recover his fitness levels. But of course we need the players.”
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It is refreshing to hear that Mourinho now sees Ndombele as being ready to play as a number eight. Not only does that meant that the Frenchman is likely to see a lot more of the ball but as Jose mentions, it could allow us to play an additional number ten. That should help us create a lot more chances than we have tended to this season.
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