Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen was substituted against Southampton.
The former Arsenal star, who now works as a pundit for Sky Sports, does not believe that Mourinho should have taken off Vertonghen in the second half of the FA Cup fourth-round replay against Premier League rivals Southampton at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Merson wrote in The Daily Star: “What happened with Veronghen just seems to sum the whole thing up for me. I would like to have been a fly on the wall in that dressing room!
“He looked like he was doing well to bite his tongue when he got taken off and he sat there on the bench looking absolutely gutted. Hopefully he digested it and didn’t go ballistic but it looked like Mourinho was sending a message not just to him but to the whole team by doing that.
“It was like he was saying: ‘Don’t mess with me. You’re one of my most experienced players but I can still take you off. I’m in charge.’
“He kept the kid Japhet Tanganga on, and he was at fault for one of the goals. When he could have taken Tanganga off and played Vertonghen there. Vertonghen must have been fuming about that.”
Tottenham Hotspur exit inevitable?
Vertonghen has been on the books of Tottenham since the summer of 2012, but the Belgium international central defender is out of contract at the North London outfit at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old is past his prime, and with Spurs now having more options at the back, especially with Davinson Sanchez progressing well, it is hard to see the Premier League club offer him a new contract.
It seems inevitable that Vertonghen will leave Tottenham at the end of the season.
Spurs are aiming to finish in the top four of the Premier League table this season, and have also progressed to the last-16 stage of the Champions League.
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