Jose Mourinho: Tanguy Ndombele 'Phenomenal' in Tottenham Draw with Norwich

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2019

Tottenham Hotspur's French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele (L) tries to hold off Norwich City's German midfielder Marco Stiepermann (R) during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England on December 28, 2019. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tanguy Ndombele was "phenomenal" in his team's 2-2 draw with Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

The France international was brought back into the starting XI at Carrow Road, having been left out of the squad for the Boxing Day clash with Brighton & Hove Albion.

Although Spurs were unable to get over the line against the Canaries because of a number of defensive lapses, there were some standout performances, with Ndombele's all-action effort in central midfield catching the eye. 

Afterwards, Mourinho commented on Christian Eriksen's man-of-the-match award and how other players could have taken the accolade, per Nick Wright of Sky Sports:

"I am happy with his man-of-the-match [award], but it could have been others. I think Ndombele was absolutely phenomenal. ...

"He played very, very well. We played without a positional midfield player—no Winks, no [Eric] Dier. But Ndombele and Eriksen played so, so well. Totally in control. The football—the passing, the movement, the turning—was fluid. They never played back passes and always looked forward to play in between the lines or to the wingers. It was fantastic quality of football."

Here is more of what Mourinho had to say after the match:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

Jose Mourinho shares his thoughts after a @SpursOfficial performance full of yet more defensive calamities. He had plenty of praise, though, for his side's response in the second half following his half-time changes. 📲 More here: https://t.co/yKy0CROD32 https://t.co/wUH1w3WVCe

These are the highlights from a breathless contest, with Harry Kane's late penalty earning a point for the visitors:

It's clear Mourinho still has a lot to work on at Tottenham. If he can start getting the best out of Ndombele, his job will become a lot more straightforward.

When Spurs signed the 23-year-old from Lyon in the summer, he was regarded as one of the most exciting prospects in European football. However, he's had an up-and-down beginning to life at the club.

On Saturday, there were indications of the type of player he can become. Jack Pitt-Brooke of The Athletic highlighted Ndombele for special praise for his display, noting how entertaining he is to watch in full flow:

Jack Pitt-Brooke @JackPittBrooke

Look, I know there's lots of criticisms of Ndombele, and yes, quite a few of them are accurate, but: this guy is just incredible. He tries things nobody else does. My favourite player to watch in the league right now and it's not even close.

Dan Kilpatrick of the Evening Standard believes the France international should get a prolonged run of games alongside Eric Dier in midfield:

Dan Kilpatrick @Dan_KP

Ndombele definitely made a case. He got better and better, and showed some really great touches. Mourinho should build around him and Dier now.

Ndombele's energy, dribbling skill and ability to make contributions in the final third make him a hugely effective player. If he can get a prolonged run in the side and find some consistency, he could be a transformative figure for Tottenham.

Spurs are in action against an in-form Southampton team on Wednesday before they take on Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Jan. 5. It will be intriguing to see in which of those games Ndombele starts.