Jose Mourinho has backed Tanguy Ndombele to ‘turn it around’ at Tottenham following a difficult debut season in English football for the club’s record signing.
Ndombele arrived at Spurs with a big reputation in a £55m deal from Lyon last summer, though the midfielder has since endured an injury-hit campaign and has struggled for both form and fitness.
Mourinho has started the France international – who was signed by predecessor Mauricio Pochettino – on just six occasions since taking charge of the north London side, and was openly critical of Ndombele’s performance in the draw at Burnley in March.
Mourinho has, however, backed the 23-year-old to bounce back and salvage his Premier League career, citing Luka Modric’s initial struggles at Real Madrid as evidence of how players can thrive after a period of adaptation.
“I believe Ndombele can turn it around,” Mourinho said at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday. “Football is full of players who have made difficult starts and then ended well. When Modric arrived at Real Madrid, after six months he was labelled the worst signing in their history. So when the talent is there many things can happen with adaptation.
“In many other clubs it looks like it’s normal to have great players on the bench: United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich. At Tottenham I feel is every time a top player is on the bench, it’s a drama. The players and everybody else have to understand it’s not a drama.
“I hope next season we have even more top players on the bench because it means we have to be bigger than where we are now. No problem with Tanguy, no story. We are a big club with very talented players.”
Mourinho was also asked about how Ndombele felt he had performed during his debut season at Spurs, but says that question would be better directed towards the midfielder himself.
“That’s a question for him,” he replied. “I know him for six months and six months is not enough to find or describe his psychological profile. One thing is feelings, another is the reality. I am not a genius to within six months get inside a person’s brain, to describe 100% his feelings.”