Tottenham: Mourinho Speaks on Toby, Tanganga, and Doherty

Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (Photo by MATT DUNHAM/AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (Photo by MATT DUNHAM/AFP via Getty Images) /

Jose Mourinho provided updates on the health and status of several Tottenham players ahead of the match-up tomorrow with Ludogorets in Europa League.

Jose Mourinho managed to update us on several Tottenham Hotspur players during his nearly 20 minutes with the press on Wednesday ahead of the Ludogorets game. The big news was the update on Toby Alderweireld, which was not as bad as first thought, but we managed to also get a few updates on Matt Doherty, Erik Lamela and Japhet Tanganga as well.

Toby Alderweireld

The news on the Belgian center-back is much better than it looked when he left the pitch on Saturday with what looked like a muscle tear. Fortunately, Alderweireld seems to have avoided the worst with Mourinho estimating that it would be “between 2 and 4 weeks” before we see Alderweireld again, “not months that we originally said”.

This is good news as the roster situation with Europa League does leave Spurs a bit thin for cover in that competition, but seemingly okay everywhere else. It really is unfortunately for Toby who Mourinho said “was playing his best football” and is “an important player that we will miss”.

Toby has been excellent for Tottenham this term and it is tough time to lose him, but the news could have been much worse.  This is a great opportunity for Davinson Sanchez to regain confidence in Europa League and Joe Rodon to gain experience in the Premier League, so we must look at the positives and hope Toby comes back strong and healthy.

Erik Lamela

Jose Mourinho said, “not this week” with Erik Lamela. Then went on to say he would be “very, very surprised if he managed to play Sunday” leaving open that outside possibility. With the busy fixture list ahead, it does not make sense to risk Lamela before he is ready, although we have seen from All or Nothing the young man fights to be on the field.

It is unfortunate how often Erik has been injured, but there is no doubting his fighting spirit whenever he steps on the pitch. In many ways his play epitomizes the Mourinho fighting style that the Portuguese manager wants to see in his club. While it would be great to see Erik against Chelsea Sunday, it would be even better to him for a month straight, so hopefully he is ready to go no questions asked when the time comes.

Japhet Tanganga

Jose Mourinho was asked about Japhet Tanganga, but Ali Gold from Football London asked him about Tanganga’s position, thus we really did not get any insight into when he will be back on the pitch. What we did learn is Mourinho sees Tanganga as a fullback as opposed to a center back, which was the original question asked of the Tottenham manager.

of course he can and he will, if we need and we will need, he can play center back”.

As Mourinho riffed about the young Englishman’s ability he said that “of course he can and he will, if we need and we will need, he can play center back”. However, that statement was followed by a but, where Mourinho talked about the context an high level football and “especially in the Premier League” that Tanganga is a “a multifunctional defensive player, but I see him more as a fullback”.

As we already know Jose Mourinho thinks highly of the young man and now, we know Mourinho thinks of him as a fullback first. All this is nice, but we want and need to know is when is he going to be able to get back on the pitch and that question was neither asked nor answered.

Matt Doherty

There was good news on the Matt Doherty front as Jose noted that “yeah he’s back by the clinical and legal point of view he is fine he’s ready”. Interesting language from Jose using the clinical and legal point of view, which basically means, yes, he is allowed back in, but that does not equate to being ready to play.

Mourinho then asked himself “is he (Doherty) ready to start a match, we don’t know, honestly I still have work to do with him to understand that he is good”. In other words, doctors are not the coach and the coach will say when he is good. Ultimately, however, given the size of the squad being 23 for Europa League, Jose said it will be good to have him in the 23.

It is great Doherty is back in the squad, which means he has had at least two consecutive negative results. Hopefully, this is the last Covid situation for Tottenham for a while and Doherty is ready to go if need be. Overall, Doherty’s general availability as well as Toby’s injury not being quite as serious as one thought were the headlines from an injury perspective.