Jose Mourinho has said he believes Tanguy Ndombele can turn around his situation at Tottenham, highlighting Luka Modric’s difficult start to life with Real Madrid.
Ndombele is a club-record signing following his £55million arrival from Lyon last year but the French midfielder has struggled in London, and he has reportedly told Mourinho he no longer wants to work with him.
The likes of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with Ndombele, who was an unused substitute in last week’s 2-0 Premier League win over West Ham.
But Tottenham boss Mourinho has backed Ndombele, pointing to Modric’s impact at Madrid. Following a tumultuous start in the Spanish capital after leaving Spurs in 2012, the Croatian has gone on to win the Ballon d’Or, four Champions League titles and LaLiga.
“Nothing happens when the players have no talent. So when a player has no talent, nothing happens. When you are born with no potential, you die with no potential.
When you have talent lots of things can change and lots of things can happen,” Mourinho said ahead of Thursday’s clash against Sheffield United.
“As you say I didn’t know it, one year since he arrived, but maybe six months since I arrived.
So for the first six months I’m not the guy to go through what happened in the first six months, which I think is very important when a player arrives from a different club, different country, football culture – I don’t know what happened in this first six months, I know when I arrived that there were problems.
“Injuries, small injuries, physical condition and that broke that initial impact that when a player starts working with a manager, immediately broke that impact you can have with other players.
“Now it’s the situation where everyone has to adapt to it, I want everyone to adapt to it, the club wants everyone to adapt to it, which is the fact that we are a big club and we want to be a bigger club.
“When you are a big club that wants to be bigger, you have lots of good players, you don’t have fix or six, or 10 or 11, you have lots, and when you have that you have lots of options.
“You can face all the competitions, but then the players, fans, you the press, everyone must understand you can only start with 11, and in many other clubs it looks like it’s normal to have great players on the bench.
“You go to Manchester United, you go to Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and lots of top players on the bench, and that is normal.
“In Tottenham, what I feel is every time a top player is on the bench, that’s a drama, and players have to understand that is not a drama, you have to understand it’s not a drama and everyone has to understand I hope next season we have even more top players on the bench because it means we want to be bigger than we are now.
“When a top player is on the bench, that doesn’t mean there is a story behind it, it means we have lots of options.
So the other day when I played [Moussa] Sissoko and [Giovani] Lo Celso in midfield, there is no drama that [Harry] Winks is not playing or Ndombele is not playing.
There is no drama [Erik] Lamela isn’t playing, that’s life in a big club.
“So, no problem with Tanguy, he is in a big club, period. He’s in a big club and he has to compete with the other guys. He’s an option for me, he’s a very good player, he probably will be playing tomorrow, the next match, there is no problems.”
Asked if Ndombele can turn his situation around, Mourinho added: “Of course I believe – I started my answer, if there is no talent, there is nothing to do, with talent there is a lot to do. You don’t have talent, you have no chance. You don’t have talent, you have no chance.
“Football is full of players with difficult starts. Luka Modric in Real Madrid, after six months he was elected the worst signing of Real Madrid history by the fans and press, a few months later he was champion, then European champion and then voted the best player in the world.
When the talent is there, many things can happen with adaptation, but if the talent is there anything good can happen.”
Quizzed on whether Ndombele has a problem with his mentality, Mourinho replied: “That’s a question for him, not a question for me.
“I’ve known him six months and it’s not for me to define the psychological profile of a player. One thing is feelings, another is the reality.
I’m no genius to in six months get into someone’s brain to describe 100 per cent how the person is feeling, you have to ask.”