EPL

Bale and Ndombele lacked intensity against Arsenal, says Mourinho

By Sports Desk March 14, 2021

Jose Mourinho singled out Gareth Bale and Tanguy Ndombele for criticism after Tottenham's 2-1 north London derby defeat to Arsenal.

Spurs took a first-half lead through an astonishing rabona finish from substitute Erik Lamela, who was later sent off for two bookable offences.

But Martin Odegaard's first Premier League goal for Arsenal had things all square at the break and, much to Mourinho's chagrin, Alexandre Lacazette won and converted a 64th-minute penalty to seal the points.

Lamela entered the fray after Son Heung-min pulled up with a muscular injury and, although Harry Kane had a late header ruled out for offside and hit the post with a free-kick, Spurs' other attacking talents disappointed.

Bale headed into the match with six goals and three assists in his previous seven appearances across all competitions, but he did not manage a single shot or key pass before making way for Moussa Sissoko in the 57th minute.

Five minutes later, having similarly had no impact of note in Arsenal territory, Ndombele was replaced by Dele Alli.

Nevertheless, it was Bale and Ndombele's contribution off the ball that drew Mourinho's ire.

"Gareth and Tanguy, we need more intensity in that game. We need to press more, be more intense in the game," he said.

"We needed initially Sissoko to give us that intensity in the midfield that Tanguy was not giving us. Then Dele was a player who had a desire to play and in the last match he did not complete the 90 minutes.

"He was fresh and had a good understanding with Harry."

However, Mourinho conceded he was also broadly unimpressed with the Tottenham collective.

"It was a very, very poor first half," he said, "We did not have intensity to run.

"Everybody was dropping back and nobody was looking to attack. Apart from Lucas [Moura] with some individual actions.

"If you're a big player you play for Tottenham. I'm not saying it was player A or B. We do not individualise. Players hiding. We were poor.

"The only thing worse than our first half was that penalty."

Spurs are back in Europa League action against Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday - a last-16 tie they lead 2-0 after the first leg - although Mourinho is not hopeful over the prospects of Son making a speedy recovery.

"It's muscular. Muscular is usually not easy," he added. "He's normally a guy who recovers quickly.

"It's an accumulation of matches. I gave him 30 minutes' rest in the last match, but it's still 60 minutes."

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