Date published: Thursday 17th September 2020 7:55
Jose Mourinho described Tanguy Ndombele as a player going through a “process of evolution” after scoring the winning goal for Tottenham against Lokomotiv Plovdiv.
Spurs survived a scare in the Europa League qualifiers to come from behind and win 2-1, sealing their place in the next round.
Ndombele got the decisive goal at the end after Harry Kane had equalised with a penalty.
Tottenham’s record signing endured a difficult first season with the club, but Mourinho is confident that this could be the start of something better for the midfielder.
The Spurs boss said: “Tanguy is in a process of evolution. Last season he wasn’t. He was stuck in a situation where I couldn’t see evolution.
“Now he is in a moment where he is training very, very well. Today he gave us what we needed in the last 30 minutes.
“Now I believe in Tanguy. I never doubted his ability but last season I doubted his effort and motivation. Now I think that Tanguy can do well for us.”
While Mourinho was pleased for Ndombele’s contribution, he would surely have liked the win to have been a bit more routine.
However, he insists the performance was “dominant”, and they only fell behind due to a single mistake.
“We were even more dominant in the second half but Davinson Sanchez made one mistake and gave them a corner and they scored.
“In that moment we had to change things. Then we were playing only with [Eric] Dier at the back and Ben Davies out wide.”
Mourinho was worried about being eliminated
After things began to turn around for Tottenham when they won a penalty – in a passage of play which saw two opponents sent off – Mourinho admits he remained calm, and wasn’t focused on completing the comeback in normal time.
“When we scored the goal I was not even panicking about killing the game in 90 minute because if you got to extra time it will be 30 minutes, of course impossible for them to hold us. But we started pushing and after the second goal game over.
“Of course when they scored it was a moment to dream and a moment for us to fear for our future in the competition.”
Mourinho could breath a sigh of relief in the end, though, thanks to Kane and Ndombele’s goals.
However, he made sure to praise their opponents, who provided them with a stern test.
“They made it difficult, especially with their attitude,” Mourinho said. “They gave absolutely everything.”