An altogether bizarre situation is unfolding at Tottenham this evening, as official club sources are said to have denied Jose Mourinho’s claims that Toby Alderweireld missed the club’s meeting with Newcastle United due to a late return from international duty.
Willock strikes late
Spurs were of course back in action a short time ago.
In their first outing on the back of the international break, the north Londoners made the trip to St. James’ Park, for a Premier League meeting with relegation battling Newcastle.
The visitors headed into proceedings with 3 points very much on the agenda, in the knowledge that a victory would guide them clear of capital rivals Chelsea into the top-4.
When all was said and done this afternoon, however, Tottenham, once again, stuttered when it mattered most.
An entertaining affair on Tyneside eventually saw Mourinho and co. forced to settle for a share of the spoils, after throwing away a late advantage to succumb to a 2-2 draw.
After Harry Kane had turned the clash on its head with a brace to rule out Joelinton’s first-half opener, on-loan Arsenal man Joe Willock endeared himself to the Gunners faithful with a deserved equaliser for Newcastle five minutes from time:
Joe Willock is in the right place at the right time! ⚽
The man on loan from Arsenal scores against Tottenham!
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 4, 2021
On the back of the clash, meanwhile, Jose Mourinho’s press conference was unsurprisingly filled with a host of noteworthy talking points.
First, the Portuguese tactician aimed a clear as day dig at his side’s players, in shifting the blame for Spurs’ latest dropped points away from himself, and onto the club’s stars:
🗣 Reporter: “In the past, holding on to a lead is what you’ve been so good at.”
🗣 Mourinho: “Same coach, different players.”
Absolutely brutal. 😂 pic.twitter.com/fnJ1wgz8S7
— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) April 4, 2021
Mourinho then provided an explanation for the respective absences of Toby Alderweireld and Serge Aurier from his matchday squad this afternoon, revealing that both were ruled out after only making it back from international duty on Saturday:
‘They were fit, yeah, but they reported for training only yesterday.’
‘They went for their national teams and they didn’t make the Covid tests on time to be in the training session on Thursday, not even on Friday. They come only yesterday.’
Bizarrely, however, as outlined above, such claims have since been challenged, by none other than Tottenham themselves.
As per the reliable Dan Kilpatrick of the Evening Standard, ‘sources with knowledge of the situation’ have revealed that Alderweireld was in fact back in north London on Wednesday.
The stopper is said to have flown out the morning after featuring in Belgium’s meeting with Belarus.
In turn, Alderweireld underwent a Covid-19 test on Wednesday, before joining group training with the rest of Tottenham’s squad on Thursday, a full two days prior to Mourinho’s aforementioned claim.
This has resulted in ‘confusion’ in the capital, as the cracks continue to show amid a tumultuous reign for one of football’s most decorated managers.
— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) April 4, 2021
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