Tanguy Ndombele was the star of the show this afternoon against Sheffield United as Spurs recorded a comfortable 3-1 victory away from home.
The Frenchman started in a deeper position than fans have been used to seeing him operate this season, playing alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as one of two pivots.
This allowed Mourinho to field all three of Harry Kane, Steven Bergwijn and Heung-min Son while also having five across the back with two wing-backs.
From the very first minute, Ndombele dictated the game as a deep-lying playmaker, with Hojbjerg winning the ball back and Tanguy starting the counters.
However, it wasn’t until Spurs were 2-1 up, wondering whether they were going to throw away another Premier League lead, that Ndombele showed his true genius.
After Bergwijn sent him in the box with a lofted pass, Ndombele held off two defenders and lobbed the keeper with the outside of his boot from a tight angle, sealing the win for Spurs.
This is what Mourinho had to say on Tanguy come full-time (Football London): “The performance was good.
“The team was very dominant, created enough chances to kill the game in the first half. In the second half, the intention was the same.
“A very basic mistake, very basic, gave them the goal with the only chance they had, but then we had a genius action to bring us again to a two-goal advantage.”
Mourinho added: “I coach for so many years, had so many players and I have enough experience to say and to feel that when a player is not playing very well, it’s his responsibility, and when a play turns things around and brings his performance level to a very high level, it’s also his responsibility.
“It’s a great example that with me the door is always open. The door of the team is always open, and when a player is not playing he has to try to understand why and he has to try to understand how can he walk through that door.
“He understood, he understood. The goal is amazing, but I don’t care about the goal, I care about the performance and the performance was magnificent and I’m really pleased that he’s come to this level. He’s playing very, very well.
“It’s the second or third time he has played 90 minutes and 90 minutes of a game with high intensity because Sheffield United is a team that plays high-intensity football, we play high-intensity football, we press very, very high, not easy for our midfielders to cope for 90 mins with the intensity of the game.
“He did that and apart from that, he was very, very good on creation, transporting the game, coming out on transitions, trying to assist attacking players. His performance was very, very complete.”
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