Tottenham to take on Royal Antwerp sans Serge Aurier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
Playing at home, it will be a direct showdown between both teams to see who ends up topping the group. Spurs lost the reverse fixture 1-0 much to the frustration of Mourinho. It was something he made clear to his players after the game. (h/t The Express)
We can now put that defeat to rest and also pip the Belgians to the summit with a win. Spurs will however have to go about it without two key players.
Mourinho confirmed that Aurier is definitely ruled out of the game. The Ivory Coast international has upped his game this season and is now an important part of the squad. He has not recovered from an injury and the game at the weekend against Arsenal appears to have affected him adversely.
“Serge will miss the game yes, because he had that problem before Arsenal. He is still not completely recovered, he had a reaction from the game.”
Hojbjerg is also a key cog in Mourinho’s Tottenham outfit. An ever-present in the Spurs midfield, his absence is planned rather than inevitable. The Dane played three full games last week, necessitating a breather. With a busy December ahead of us, it is good man-management by Mourinho.
“Now is his time, because we always try to give a rest to one or another player.”
The good and the bad
Mourinho also had mixed news to deliver regarding two other Spurs stars. He confirmed that Tanguy Ndombele is okay while expressing his concern over Erik Lamela. The Spurs boss remains hopeful that his Argentine star will return to action in January.
Spurs have so far enjoyed an excellent season that is promising so much. Finishing the group stages as group winners will be another step in the right direction.
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Mourinho has preferred to rotate his players when it comes to the Europa League this season. Players such as Dele Alli have found opportunities easier to come by in Europe compared to domestic fixtures.