Oliver Skipp

Mourinho roasts Ndombele after yanking midfielder at half (video)

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Jose Mourinho put one of his players on blast after Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday.

The manager opted to start Oliver Skipp and Tanguy Ndombele, and the pairing struggled mightily in a first half that saw Burnley take a 1-0 lead.

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Mourinho took both off at the break, and substitute Giovani Lo Celso helped author Spurs’ equalizer.

The halftime hook wasn’t enough embarrassment for Mourinho’s liking, and he took a shot at record-signing Ndombele after the match. From Football.London:

“My thinking in the first half was that we didn’t have a midfield. Of course I’m not talking about Skipp as he’s 19-year-old. I’m not critical of Skipp at all. Tanguy had enough time to come to a different level. A player with this potential and responsibility has to give us more than he is giving us.”

He also said that the players’ performance forced him to divert his plan of saving Lo Celso and Lucas Moura.

Ndombele passed at 84 percent, and converted two of three dribbles while winning five of eight duels and making a clearance in his 45 minutes.

Mourinho has made complicated comments on Ndombele prior to Saturday, wondering aloud about the player’s uneven health or readiness to play.

Ndombele was clearly a big place to lay the blame for Mourinho, whose above comments are only slightly more measured than his post-match comments on television.

After naming a number of players as fatigued

“I hope he uses every minute on the pitch and every minute knowing what the Premier League is to improve,”  he said, via the BBC. “Many fantastic players in their first season in a new country for different reasons they struggle. There have been many examples of that. He’s a player with great talent. He has to know he has to do much better and know I cannot keep giving him opportunities to play because the team is much more important.”

Mourinho clearly started this midfield and hoped he could get three points off Burnley while resting his first-choice men for the Champions League at midweek.

The risk backfired, and Mourinho isn’t about to take responsibility for that. Instead, he burned a bridge (and lowered the price tag) of a big-dollar transfer.

“I was expecting players not tired to give more to the team,” he said (video above). “Somebody has to realize that this is the Premier League. This is probably a new experience and the first time he comes to Burnley. I hope that next season he can be fantastic because until now it is not enough.”

Hope for the future. Woof.

Jose Mourinho says no Spurs overhaul this summer

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho rejected the idea that Spurs will overhaul the squad this summer.

The London side has been better since Mourinho took over in late November, but still results have been spotty with injuries decimating the attack. The sharp downturn since last year’s Champions League success has led many to speculate this summer will be met with wild swings of the axe, but Mourinho told reporters today that is not the case.

“No, not massive changes [in the immediate future],” Mourinho confirmed at his pre-match press conference ahead of the FA Cup game against Norwich City on Wednesday. “First of all, that’s not what we think we need. Second, because of the profile of our club and third because of what the market is. Year after year, it’s more difficult. I’m not thinking of an overhaul.”

Despite Mourinho’s defiance, a host of Spurs players remain in contract limbo that could force the club into changes. Jan Vertonghen has still not signed a new deal, with his current set to expire this summer, while the likes of Eric Dier, Japhen Tanganga, Victor Wanyama, and Oliver Skipp all see their contracts expire in the summer of 2021. Also notably, the summer of 2022 brings the expiration of Hugo Lloris, Serge Aurier, Eric Lamela, and Juan Foyth meaning they could see increased transfer activity this coming offseason.

Still, staying the course is a likely strategy as chairman Daniel Levy is not known as a wheeler and dealer. Last offseason saw the arrival of Tanguy Ndombele, Ryan Sessegnon, and Giovani Lo Celso plus the additions of Steven Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes this winter. Such recent activity is another sign the coming summer could be quieter than usual.

Champions League squads changes for four PL teams

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Monday was the deadline for all clubs to submit their final 25-man squads to UEFA for the knockout phase of the Champions League. With all four qualified Premier League teams still in the mix, it’s time to run through each club’s squad and see who made the cut and who was left at home.

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Tottenham sees goalkeeper Hugo Lloris back in the fold after a serious elbow injury forced him to withdraw from the Champions League squad in October.

One significant note, thanks to new UEFA rules instituted during last year’s competition, no players are cup-tied for the knockout phase regardless of what competition they played for in the group stage. This is particularly of note to Liverpool who was able to add winger Takumi Minamino to the list despite the former RB Salzburg player having been deployed for the German club in the group stage before his January move. Spurs also benefitted from the new rule as Steven Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes both would have previously been cup-tied.

The most notable exclusion comes for Tottenham Hotspur who sees Victor Wanyama left off the squad, having made just one appearance for Spurs since September in a six-minute showing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stage finale. Liverpool also left off young defender Sepp van den Berg who was sacrificed for the inclusion of new boy Minamino.

For Manchester City, the injured Leroy Sane was left on the squad with nobody new arriving. The same occurred for Chelsea who saw Ruben Loftus-Cheek still in the group despite his recovery from an Achilles tear.

Liverpool

IN: Takumi Minamino (transfer, RB Salzburg)
OUT: Sepp van den Berg

Full squad: Alisson, Adrian, Andy Lonergan, Caoimhim Kelleher*; Virgil Van Dijk, Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Adam Lewis*; Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner, Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Xherdan Shaqiri, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones*, Herbie Kane*, Neco Williams*, Yasser Larouci*; Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Rhian Brewster*.

Manchester City

IN: [none]
OUT: Angelino (loan, RB Leipzig), Ian Poveda (transfer, Leeds United)

Full squad: Ederson, Claudio Bravo Scott Carson; John Stones, Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Nicolas Otamendi, Benjamin Mendy, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Joao Cancelo, Eric Garcia*; Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden*; Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero.

Chelsea

IN: [none]
OUT: Marc Guehi (loan, Swansea City), George McEachran (loan, Cambuur)

Full squad: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Willy Caballero, Jamie Cumming*, Nicholas Tie*; Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma, Cesar Azpilicueta, Fikayo Tomori, Emerson, Reece James*; Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley, Willian, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount*, Callum Hudson-Odoi*, Christian Pulisic, Billy Gilmour*, Tammy Abraham, Pedro, Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi.

Tottenham Hotspur

IN: Steven Bergwijn (transfer, PSV), Hugo Lloris, Gedson Fernandes (loan, Benfica)
OUT: Christian Eriksen (transfer, Inter), Danny Rose (loan, Newcastle), Kyle Walker-Peters (loan, Southampton), Victor Wanyama, Troy Parrott

Full squad: Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm, Paulo Gazzaniga, Alfie Whiteman*, Brandon Austin*; Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vergtonghen, Davinson Sanchez, Serge Aurier, Juan Foyth*, Ben Davies, Ryan Sessegnon, Japhet Tanganga*, Timothy Eyoma*; Eric Dier, Harry Winks, Erik Lamela, Moussa Sissoko, Giovani Lo Celso, Dele Alli, Tanguy Ndombele, Gedson Fernandes, Oliver Skipp*, Jamie Bowden*, Harvey White*; Harry Kane, Lucas Moura, Heung-Min Son, Steven Bergwijn.

*denotes a “List B” player, who must be born on, or after, 1 January 1995 and eligible to play for the club concerned for any uninterrupted period of two years since his 15th birthday. A club can list an unlimited number of List B players, whereas they may only list 25 List A players

Spurs midfielder Sissoko out 3 months after knee surgery

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Tottenham Hotspur’s midfield is slowly reaching crisis status.

Already without Tanguy Ndombele due to a groin strain, Spurs have now lost Moussa Sissoko for three months after the French international went down with an MCL injury which required surgery, the club announced on Tuesday.

Sissoko was injured in the 1-0 loss to Southampton last week, although he completed the full 90 minutes as Jose Mourinho only used two substitutes. The club announcement stated he is not expected back in training until early April.

The injuries leave Harry Winks, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama, Giovani Lo Celso, and Oliver Skipp as the only remaining true central midfielders on the senior squad. Dier and Winks has struggled mightily at times this season, Lo Celso has not locked down a consistent role, while Wanyama and Skipp have made just a combined 10 total appearances across all competitions.

Sissoko’s injury could have a serious effect on Tottenham’s January transfer window. Winks and Wanyama were rumored to be on the move, with Spurs hoping to upgrade in the midfield. Now, they are more likely to stay given the short supply of quality midfielders on the roster. Spurs could even look to buy should they look to upgrade on the currently available midfielders, although the quality of available players in January is often questionable.

In addition to a thinning midfield, Spurs are also dealing with serious injuries to talisman Harry Kane and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, plus the absence of full-backs Ben Davies and Danny Rose.

Tottenham is scheduled to take on Liverpool this weekend, while an FA Cup replay with Middlesbrough and a Premier League game against Watford come their way next week. Spurs sit sixth in the Premier League table with 30 points, six behind fourth-placed Chelsea for the final Champions League spot.

Report: Mourinho arrival could see Vertonghen, Alderweireld stay at Spurs

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Belgian duo Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are two of many Tottenham players out of contract in the coming summer, and to this point talks with both on a new deal had stalled.

However, there seems to be renewed hope that both stick around now that Mauricio Pochettino has departed and Jose Mourinho is on as the new manager in North London.

Lyall Thomas of Sky Sports reported Wednesday that Vertonghen is “keen to discuss” a new contract with the club now that Mourinho has been brought aboard. The report states that Vertonghen was open to discussions with Pochettino in the past, but no offer was ever officially extended. Vertonghen was reportedly informed this summer that the club would not let him leave and he would play for Spurs in the final year of his contract.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

At 32 years old, Vertonghen has made six appearances for the club in the Premier League this season, with another three in Champions League play. He has battled a muscle injury of late but was on the bench for the comeback win over Olympiakos this week.

Alderweireld, meanwhile, has been quite open about his desire to leave the club this summer at the expiry of his deal, as the club has not offered him a new contract and there are thought to be a number of clubs interested in his services. However, a report by The Telegraph says that Alderweireld feels the arrival of Mourinho could calm his desire for a new challenge.

The 30-year-old defender admitted as such publicly after the win over Olympiakos, saying of Mourinho, “I am happy that I’m playing. I’m proud to work with a manager that has won it all. I am grateful that I can become a better player under him. I want to repay him for the faith he has shows in me.”

HLN reporter Kristof Terreur claims the club has not formally offered Alderweireld a new contract, but it was always expected he would leave even should they open talks. However, now it could be that Alderweireld desires to stay and talks can progress.

One of the biggest challenges Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy faced this season was the gaggle of players all out of contract either this summer or next, with very few seemingly willing to consider an extension. Alongside Alderweireld and Vertonghen, Christian Eriksen is also out of contract this summer, while the club will need to make a decision on the future of Giovani Lo Celso on loan from Real Betis. Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama, and Oliver Skipp all have contracts expiring in the summer of 2021.