Nuno says Ndombele “not in the right moment” amid Tottenham absence

Ndombele is yet to appear for Spurs since Nuno became manager, failing to play in any of Tottenham’s pre-season friendlies ahead of the new Premier League season

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Nuno Espirito Santo believes that Tanguy Ndombele is “not in the right moment” to join up with Tottenham ’s matchday squad after the midfielder missed all of their pre-season matches.

He took time off for the birth of his first child and has participated in training, but was left out of the squads to face Chelsea and Arsenal despite being fully fit.

His omission from those two squads means that he is still yet to play under new boss Nuno, who is now the fourth Spurs manager to be unsure of the 24-year-old.

The man who signed him, Mauricio Pochettino, insisted he would take time for him to settle into life in the Premier League, with concerns raised over his physicality.

Nuno Espirito Santo has explained Tanguy Ndombele’s omission from Tottenham’s pre-season matches


Sky Sports)

But it is taking him longer to settle than Pochettino would have expected and despite the fresh start being offered by Nuno, Ndombele’s struggles with Spurs are set to continue.

He was reportedly fit to play both of Tottenham’s final two pre-season friendlies but has appeared in neither.

Nuno has now disclosed that he does not believe that the midfielder is in the “right moment” to play.

“Because I can see that he is not in the right moment to join the group in terms of competition. No, he’s not injured,” he told Sky Sports.

“It’s not about that,” Nuno added when asked if that meant he had not proved himself.

“It’s about deciding who we want to take.”

This is far from the first time that Ndombele has been frozen out by a manager, with the Frenchman having consistently failed to convince.

His problems increased under Pochettino’s replacement in the dugout Jose Mourinho, with the pair frequently clashing.

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Ndombele struggled under Jose Mourinho during the first part of the Portuguese’s reign

Having cost £55million, it would have been fair to expect the former Lyon star to hit the ground running, but he has instead struggled badly.

Tensions with Mourinho reached boiling point after a 1-1 draw with Burnley in March 2020, when the Portuguese boss heavily indicated his unhappiness with the midfielder.

“Somebody has to realise this is the Premier League… I hope that next season, he can be fantastic because until now, it is not enough,” Mourinho told Sky Sports without actually naming Ndombele.

In the press conference following that match, Mourinho was even more scathing in his criticism.

“I have to say that Tanguy had enough time to come to a different level. I know that the Premier League is very difficult and some players, it takes time,” he said.

“Some players, it takes a long time to adapt to a different league but a player with this potential and responsibility has to give us more than he is giving us.”

His issues continued after the first coronavirus lockdown, when he played just 64 minutes of Spurs’ nine ‘Project Restart’ matches, starting none of them.

Though he was able to recover his form during the latter half of Mourinho’s reign as Tottenham boss, Ndombele quickly fell out of favour under caretaker manager Ryan Mason.

Mason repeatedly questioned Ndombele’s attitude, with the midfielder limited largely to appearances off the bench under the Englishman.

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