Jose Mourinho is unsure whether Tanguy Ndombele will be able to play against Newcastle, but the Tottenham boss was left impressed by the Frenchman’s performance in the Europa League on Thursday.
Ndombele played 90 minutes for the first time in 2020, and just the second time under Mourinho, as Spurs beat Shkendija 3-1 in the third qualifying round.
The club’s record buy had a tough first year in north London and endured a disjointed pre-season due to injury and illness, with Mourinho carefully managing the midfielder’s schedule.
And a quick turnaround for the visit of the Magpies may leave Ndombele up against it.
“Can he play Sunday? I’m not sure,” Mourinho said. “It’s the first time he played 90 minutes, we have to see how he reacts and recovers from it.
“But we have so many matches coming that if a player is not able to play the next match he will be able to play the next one. And we need that because the matches are coming very fast.
“[He] played very well. Of course in a game where I can imagine our percentage of ball possession was very, very high and if our percentage is high he feels obviously much more comfortable.
“But even without the ball he had recovery, he had duels, he had defensive transition. It was a really positive game from Tanguy, really happy.”
It was less of a promising night for Dele Alli, who started after being left out of the last two matchday squads, which prompted rumours of a move away from the club.
Alli did not do much to impress, though, and was brought off on the hour mark with Spurs going on to win the game after he had left the pitch.
“The team didn’t play very, very well – as a team,” Mourinho said. “It’s hard to individualise, it’s hard to say player A, B or C when the reality is that for one hour we didn’t play very well.
“For the last 25-30 minutes, the team played well. We gave intensity, accelerate the game, used the wings, we had occupation in the box, Harry [Kane] not losing the ball and dropping back and linking the ball. The team improved very much in the last 30 minutes.”