The North London Derby is in the rear view mirror, but the car ain’t stopping for nobody as we keep careening towards the end of the 2019-20 Premier League season. Tottenham Hotspur travel to Newcastle United on Wednesday, and Spurs are hoping to capitalize on the momentum gained after their huge 2-1 home win over Arsenal this past Sunday.
However, they’ll need to do it without a couple of players. In his pre-match press conference, manager Jose Mourinho confirmed that in addition to the players who have missed the past few matches, midfielder Tanguy Ndombele is also a doubt after picking up an injury in training. Serge Aurier is also a doubt for personal reasons after the death of his brother in France yesterday morning.
“From the last game, no injuries from the game. Yesterday in training Ndombele [was] injured. I don’t think he will be selected but we have another training session. Dele Alli may be training with us in the afternoon but I don’t believe he will be available.
“Serge Aurier of course a big question mark in this moment. At the moment just myself and others in the club spoke to him just to support him in a tragic moment for him and his family. His way of reacting, every person is a different feeling.
“So we are going to respect 100% Serge’s decisions and no pressure from us. This afternoon after training we’ll have a better idea of how he is feeling.”
There isn’t anyone who would be surprised or upset if Aurier were to forego playing in this match to deal with family affairs related to his brother’s death. The good news is that utility defender and Spurs academy graduate Japhet Tanganga was an unused substitute on the bench for Spurs against Arsenal, which raises the possibility that he could come in as Serge’s replacement if he doesn’t play. Another option would be to move Toby Alderweireld to right back, a position he has played in the past, especially for Belgium, and play with a central defense partnership of Davison Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen.
One Newcastle player whom Spurs won’t have to worry about is Danny Rose. While Rose is on loan at Toon until the end of the season, loan rules dictate that he cannot play against his home club. Mourinho also spoke about Danny and whether it looks like he could be joining Newcastle in a permanent deal this summer.
“No, no decision is made. To be honest since he left, I didn’t speak with him. His feelings are important. His happiness is important. Steve Bruce and Newcastle I think they also deserve to have an important word on this situation.
“My club, Mr [Daniel] Levy, the player is our player and he has a contract. So I think everything is open, and of course we are on this for a couple of more weeks, three more matches, and after that, plenty of time to make decisions.”
The match kicks off at 1:00 p.m. ET, 6:00 p.m. in the UK on Wednesday. For American viewers, the match is not televised, but is streamed for free on NBC’s new streaming platform Peacock, and also on NBC Sports Gold.