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Spurs Ndombele ruled himself out, reveals Mourinho

Tottenham 2 Brighton 1

Decisive say: Spurs’ Dele Alli is mobbed after hitting winner
Decisive say: Spurs’ Dele Alli is mobbed after hitting winner

By Jonathan Veal

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho has revealed that record signing Tanguy Ndombele did not want to be selected in the Boxing Day win over Brighton.

The France international, who has recovered from a recent groin injury, was a surprise omission as Spurs came from behind to win 2-1.

Adam Webster put the Seagulls ahead before goals from Harry Kane and Dele Alli extended Spurs' unbeaten record on December 26 to 14 games.

But Ndombele's absence was the big talking point and the Portuguese cleared up the situation.

"I cannot say he is injured, in five minutes we start a training session and you can go to the stands and watch it, he is going to be training normally, so I cannot say he is injured," Mourinho said. "I can say that yesterday he told me he wasn't feeling in condition to play the game.

"Not based on injuries, based on fears of previous injuries that he has had since the beginning of the season.

"He wasn't feeling ready to start the game, but I cannot say he is injured, I can say he is not in condition to start the game."

Spurs certainly looked to be missing Ndombele's creativity and mobility in the first half as, minutes after Kane's goal was ruled out by VAR, they fell behind to Webster's header.

They were much better after the break, and Kane's 10th league goal of the campaign and Alli's fifth in eight games under Mourinho saw Spurs earn a big three points in the top-four race.

Mourinho said: "We didn't start well and you could even say that we were a bit unlucky, because one minute we are winning 1-0, then VAR correctly disallowed the goal, and the next minute you are 0-0 and a couple of minutes later you are losing 1-0.

"So I think the boys felt it. The second half was different, second half they brought everything.

"We spoke about tactical details, about principles, the emotional side of it, and the second half was really, really good, and if we didn't win this game I would be disappointed but I would have the feeling the boys gave everything."

Brighton looked like ruining Spurs' Boxing Day record with an impressive first-half performance, but could not cope with a strong second-half response.

"We are disappointed because we have come away with nothing, so that is a frustration for us," boss Graham Potter said.

"In terms of the performance, there were plenty of positives. I thought it was an even game, the first half was really positive.

"The effort was there, probably their first goal is a disappointing one for us.

"We weren't able to see out that period of time, but overall there are plenty of positives."

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