There were questions about the field exits of two Tottenham players during Spurs’ 2-0 Europa League group-clinching win over Royal Antwerp on a cold Thursday night in North London.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho says those questions can be answered by that word, cold, though he admits that there’s more to it than temperature in one case.
Harry Winks subbed off for Tanguy Ndombele at the hour mark and went right into the locker room, while unused sub Dele Alli was spotted doing the same after Spurs made their fifth sub.
“I told them to go, some prefer to stay even cold they prefer to stay and participate in the game from the bench,” Mourinho said, via Football.London. “Winks decided to go and I am happy with that because I am the one that told him to do it.”
As for Dele, anything involving Mourinho and the slumping playmaker is fit for the headlines but the manager insists this is no big deal.
Mourinho says Dele had permission to leave the bench, but credit the Portuguese man for bringing common sense into the equation.
“Yep, but let’s not run away from the reality,” Mourinho said. “A player that is on the bench and then realizes that he’s not one of the five players is not a happy player and I wouldn’t expect him to be happy. But every player that is on the bench or every player that leaves the pitch in cold weather, with me, they can go to the dressing room and I even prefer if that happens.”
Dele has only played 333 minutes for Spurs this season and has not been in a Premier League squad since Oct. 4.
Mourinho had good words for a different midfielder, however, as Giovani Lo Celso played well and scored Spurs’ second goal.
The manager repeated his claims that Lo Celso’s inconsistent playing time is down to still working his way back to full fitness.
“He played the last match well and he played tonight very well,” Mourinho said. “It’s like Gio back to normality because he’s a very good player and when his physical condition is good he can express all of his quality. ”
Perfect assist from Harry Kane, tidy finish from Lo Celso! pic.twitter.com/plDAjQRivN
— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) December 10, 2020