The relationship between Jose Mourinho and Tanguy Ndombele has been described in hushed tones as “fraught” at the best over the past season. But as the situation between Ndombele and the club has started to clarify over the past week or so — it now appears that Ndombele will be staying at Spurs for another season — we’re now starting to see a path for Tanguy to reintegrate into the squad in the 2020-21 season.
Today, in comments given to the press, Mourinho gave direct quotes about Ndombele, and they are perhaps the most positive comments we’ve yet seen about Ndombele’s future prospects at Tottenham Hotspur under Mourinho. In short, Ndombele is working hard in training to get back into playing shape, and Mourinho is noticing.
“He’s working very hard. I have to be honest and say he is working better than ever. Of course he finished the season injured, with a very important injury. He came back after holidays and of course he was still injured, in spite of doing some work on the recovery process.
“He didn’t start the pre-season with us. When you saw him 45 minutes against Watford it was easy to understand and say he’s not in the best condition, but he trained only two days before that match.
“This week he did not go to the national team and trained every day. Is his condition better today than it was last week? Yes his condition is better and he is working very, very hard.
“So the point now is - can he keep that commitment and desire? If he does it, he has incredible potential.”
These are super encouraging words from Mourinho. For a while there it looked like Ndombele might be in danger of getting frozen out of the side entirely, but with no clubs willing to pay Tottenham’s asking price and the club reportedly not willing to sell their record signing, it falls to Mourinho to try and find a way to repair the relationship between himself and the player, and for Ndombele to put the effort in to work his way back into the side.
There are plenty of matches coming up in the first couple of weeks of the new season. Enough for Tanguy to hopefully get some good minutes and not only work his way into fitness, but also prove to Mourinho that he’s a player good enough to start in Premier League matches. That may not come for a while, but if the comments above are any indication, both manager and player are committed to trying to make things work.