It will only be three days since Tottenham Hotspur played against Liverpool, but Spurs have another home match coming up tomorrow — the FA Cup third round replay against Middlesbrough. Spurs drew at Boro 1-1 in their first meeting last week, necessitating that another match be shoehorned into the schedule for the right to play at Southampton.
Spurs released their team news for this match and, as expected, there are still quite a few players out of action for tomorrow.
TEAM NEWS:— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 13, 2020
@Ben_Davies33 (ankle), Hugo Lloris (elbow) and Tanguy Ndombele (hip) – continuing rehabilitation.
@HKane (hamstring) and @MoussaSissoko (knee) – recovering following surgery.#THFC ⚪️ #COYS pic.twitter.com/PyHU3E1yJw
More interesting was Jose Mourinho’s press conference where he made even more inferences as to what kind of lineup we might see at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium tomorrow. Mou was specifically asked whether Japhet Tanganga, who played so well in his first Premier League start against Liverpool, would again start against Boro, and the Spurs manager answered with a simple “Yep.”
More complicated was his answer about Christian Eriksen. When asked whether Saturday’s match might have been Eriksen’s last home game in a Tottenham shirt, Mourinho said that we should expect to see Christian play as long as he’s available to the club.
“He plays tomorrow. After that I have a match on Saturday and maybe he plays Saturday again. I cannot tell you much more than that. We are in our limits, we have very, very important injuries and every player that we have is a player that has to be ready to help the team. We are not in conditions to think anything different than that.”
Mou went on to say that he knows Eriksen’s future, but he’s not at liberty to discuss it. He also implied that he’s aware that Eriksen isn’t playing to the level that he has been in the past.
“If you ask me if I think this is the best Christian Eriksen I have to be honest and say no. If you ask me if I know the reasons, I am not an idiot, I am in football for many years and know clearly a player in this situation is not a player that is even if he wants, I’m not blaming or criticising the player, I am just saying it is normal that a player in this situation doesn’t perform at the highest level, but I can also say that he is helping us in matches that he is playing with us.
“Eriksen had positive performances, he had positive contributions. If remember the game against Olympiacos which was a fundamental match for us to qualify, we were losing 2-0 and he came to the game and he gave us things.
“Same against Norwich, very good performance. I also think the same as probably you think and probably what our fans thought in the game. He didn’t have a very good performance in the game against Liverpool, I have to agree with that.”
Mourinho loves the FA Cup and this competition is Spurs’ best chance of winning something this season, so I’d expect a strong lineup, albeit possibly with a few key rotations such as Tanganga. What exactly that lineup will look like is anyone’s guess.