Liverpool’s decision to swerve the signing of Tanguy Ndombele last summer has proved to be a wise one, after he was thrown under the bus by Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho. The Frenchman has struggled to justify the £55million club-record fee that Spurs splashed out to bring him to north London last summer.
Although he was brought in by Mauricio Pochettino, Mourinho has previously put on record his admiration for Ndombele’s quality which he has only shown in small glimpses.
But the Portuguese has also not been shy to criticise the 23-year-old for his below-par performances, something that Mourinho claims cannot continue.
Ndombele was poor again for Spurs on Saturday night as Tottenham drew 1-1 at Burnley.
It prompted a warning from Mourinho, who made his feelings known after the match.
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“I hope that he [Ndombele] uses every minute on the pitch, and every minute knowing what the Premier League, is to improve,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“There are many fantastic players that in first seasons in new countries, for different reasons, struggle. There are many examples.
“He’s a player with a great talent, and he has to know he has to do much better, and I cannot keep giving him opportunities to play because the team is more important than the players, and they must be on the pitch as a consequence of their work and performance.”
Last summer, there were reports in France that Liverpool were one of the club’s who had agreed terms with Ndombele.
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At the time, there was some excitement at the prospect of a deal.
Make no mistake, Ndombele established himself as the best midfielder in France last season.
His performances against Manchester City in the Champions League got scouts talking and showed that he was capable of playing at the highest level.
It was Tottenham who decided to take the chance on him though and so far he has flattered to deceive.
He has had his fair share of injury problems but Liverpool will not be losing any sleep over his contributions for Tottenham so far.
Ndombele made a bright start, scoring on his Premier League debut against Aston Villa but his application has been thrown into question when he is on the field.
Off the ball, he does not seem willing to go and win the ball back something that shows Liverpool may have dodged a bullet.
Jurgen Klopp teams are renowned for their pressing and the three Liverpool midfielders hunt the ball back like a pack of wolves when they are not in possession.
In the 3-2 defeat to Wolves, a clip emerged of Ndombele jogging leisurely as Wolves attacked and fans were not impressed by his lack of desire.
The competition for places in Liverpool’s midfield is so high, Klopp will not stand for mediocrity, let alone a lack of work ethic.
While Ndombele deserves time to prove his quality, Liverpool will feel satisfied that this was a deal that let pass them by.
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