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Ndombele on Mourinho criticism: “His words didn’t hurt me”

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Tanguy is on a mission this season.

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

There has been no shortage of news in the last several months regarding the relationship between Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and manager José Mourinho.

Entering the summer transfer window, there was a non-zero chance that Spurs could opt to sell the French midfielder if they could recoup their transfer fee that they paid. While boss Daniel Levy has said he was never for sale, there was enough smoke to think that the tires were at least kicked.

Thankfully, the transfer talks never amounted to anything other than rumor because Ndombele has been fantastic in this campaign. Speaking with Sky Sports recently, Tanguy opened up about what was happening between him and the Portuguese manager.

“His words didn’t hurt me. They didn’t necessarily motivate me either. It was just something that I assimilated and took on board. Of course it’s not something that you like to hear, those sort of words, but that was last season and we are looking to the future.”

Simple words go a long way sometimes, and I think that’s the case here. He wanted to play, Mourinho was trying to figure him out, we get stories about a feud....you get the idea.

Now with that in the past, we’ve heard Mourinho praise Ndombele’s ability while we’ve enjoyed watching his moments of brilliance to unlock attacks. He did give an acknowledgement of what’s helped him in the English Premier League later on.

“I feel better. That comes from playing consecutive matches,” said Ndombele. “It’s good for a player to have a good rhythm like that and get into shape.

“Last year I didn’t have that so much. This year I do so it’s better for the team and it’s better for me.

“Between France and England there’s a real difference in the intensity of the matches. Last season my head just wasn’t in the right place. This season it’s going a lot better.”

A healthy Ndombele is nothing but good news for Spurs, and he’s hinted that we haven’t come close to seeing his best. He’s doing his best to cement himself in the midfield, though the masthead is practically begging Mourinho for the Ndombele/GLC/Hojbjerg midfield three just once to see how much damage it can do.

When Ndombele was purchased from Lyon in the 2019 Summer Window, we were all ecstatic. We were resigned to belief that he was going to end up at Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain. The dominoes fell in a way that we got one of the hottest young midfielders in the world and we’re finally going to see what he can truly do.

Lastly, when asked about Spurs’ expectations for this season, he left us with this:

“Our objective has always been to get into the top four,” he added. “More than that? Why not? But nobody wins the league in six matches.

“Even if we were top of the league at this stage there’d still be 32 matches to play.”

He’s not wrong, but that little nugget of “Why not?” in regard to a title challenge? Give us that after last season’s hellscape of a season.