Jose Mourinho on Ludogorets Razgrad, Harry Kane Criticism and Tanguy Ndombele

Jude Summerfield
Nov 4, 2020, 2:00 PM GMT
Tottenham are third in the Premier League
Tottenham are third in the Premier League | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Tottenham are back in Europa League action on Thursday night when they travel to Bulgaria to face Ludogorets Razgrad.

Sunday's win over Brighton took Spurs up to third in the Premier League table, though the loss to Royal Antwerp in their last European outing means they're currently three points behind the Belgian side, who top Group J.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Mourinho confirmed team news and shared his thoughts on Tanguy Ndombele, Thursday's opponents and the criticism Harry Kane has received for his role in Tottenham's penalty on Sunday.

Team News

Reguilon has won Spurs fans over quickly and set up Gareth Bale's winner against Brighton
Reguilon has won Spurs fans over quickly and set up Gareth Bale's winner against Brighton | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Mourinho confirmed Erik Lamela, Serge Aurier and Sergio Reguilon will not feature on Thursday.

"Reguilon is ill but not a Covid situation, just ill with flu. We don't want him to be with the team. Lamela was having a little problem for quite a few weeks and we decided it was the moment to stop. Aurier has a little problem, nothing important."

When asked what team he would be put out on Thursday and whether Kane and Son Heung-min would be involved, he answered briefly: "full power."

Tanguy Ndombele

Ndombele scored in the 6-1 win at Manchester United
Ndombele scored in the 6-1 win at Manchester United | ALEX LIVESEY/Getty Images

Ndombele's revival has been one of the stories of Tottenham's season. Having been singled out by Mourinho at points last term, the French midfielder has started five of their seven Premier League games this campaign and has impressed with his strong dribbling and creative passing.

"The case with Tanguy was probably myself not being happy at all with what he was giving us," Mourinho said. "My way to show it is fighting a lot against that state of mind. In this moment I am happy. I still think he can do better, his potential is huge, so yes he is doing well.

"I still think he can do more. He can be fitter, he can give us 90 minutes without problems, he can be better than he is. Of course he is happy because he is playing."

Harry Kane Criticism

Kane was fouled by Lallana on Sunday
Kane was fouled by Lallana on Sunday | Pool/Getty Images

England captain Kane has faced criticism for his role in the awarding of Tottenham's penalty against Brighton on Sunday.

The striker was fouled by Adam Lallana before VAR adjudged the incident took place inside the box, though some have claimed he endangered the Seagulls midfielder by backing into him.

"Lallana made a penalty. He [Kane] didn't win anything. For me it is clear. The only doubt in that situation is the doubt that the VAR decided," Mourinho asserted.

"I never spoke about penalties. That's not part of the things we want to improve and I think, I'm speaking about you [the media] in general, you are confused. You could be speaking about some Manchester United players, some Manchester City players, some Liverpool players, some Chelsea players.

"Lallana came in a very reckless action and committed a foul. What are you speaking about, 'being clever'? Being clever is to hold the ball and shoot and score. But it was a foul. What is the media speaking about?

"When I say my team has to be ready to compete I'm not speaking about that. I'm speaking about winning 2-1 against a very difficult Brighton, playing for the last 15 minutes and controlling the game."

Ludogorets Razgrad

Ludogorets have lost their two games in Group J so far
Ludogorets have lost their two games in Group J so far | Guenther Iby/Getty Images

Ludogorets have lost to Antwerp and LASK already in the Europa League but currently top the standings in Bulgaria's First Professional Football League, having won seven of their ten games so far this season.

"We are going to try to win the match," Mourinho added. "Hopefully the players understand that the match tomorrow [Thursday] has to be different than it was against Antwerp and from myself I have to motivate them in a different way."

When asked if he had lost his spark in Europe, Mourinho quipped: "I won the Europa League two years ago. Some guys they win nothing and they have the spark."

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