Tottenham Hotspur beat Southampton 3-2 in the FA Cup on Wednesday night.
Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho has told Football.London that Tanguy Ndombele simply couldn't play 90 minutes against Southampton on Wednesday night.
Spurs hosted the Saints in an FA Cup replay, having drawn 1-1 in the first game between the sides last month, with a fifth round spot up for grabs.
Mourinho made changes to his side, but they took the lead as Ndombele's shot was diverted into his own net by Saints defender Jack Stephens.
Shane Long equalised for Southampton before Danny Ings put them in front, only for Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min to find the net and give Spurs a 3-2 win.
They take on Norwich City in the next round, and fans will be hoping to see Ndombele really kick on after playing a key part in the opening goal last night.
The French midfielder has shown glimpses of his quality over the course of the season, including with a superb assist against Manchester City on Sunday, but it's been a season of frustration for Tottenham's record signing.
His injury and fitness woes have infuriated many, and Mourinho admitted that he just wasn't in the right shape to play 90 minutes last night, and that's why he hooked him after an hour.
Mourinho felt that some Spurs fans didn't understand why Ndombele was substituted given his strong performance, adding that he is 'not an idiot', and took him off because of those fitness issues.
“I knew he couldn't play 90 minutes,” sad Mourinho. “Its very difficult to start a player who doesn’t have 90 minutes in him when there is a chance you could go to extra time. You know with that player you already have one substitution. But without Dele Alli, Lamela and Lo Celso I need somebody to connect a little bit. So I have to start with Tanguy even though I know he couldn’t play. So after one hour maybe some fans they don't follow, they don't follow you, they don't follow the day by day of us. Maybe they think this coach is an idiot for taking off Tanguy and he's playing okay. I’m not an idiot.”
“I knew that was the plan. He couldn't do more than that. It was also the plan for Dele Alli to come and Dele couldn't play 90 minutes. I would like him to do but he couldn't. So everything was like when you have a blanket in your bed and you pull it up and your feet are left out. Then you cover your feet because they're cold but half of your body is outside the blanket. That’s us, but amazing spirit. And that is something I always like, very very much. Because of that one more day off for the boys than what was organised, one more day's rest,” he added.
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