By David Hytner The Guardian
Jose Mourinho has accepted he was wrong to oversee a makeshift training session with Tanguy Ndombele in north London on Tuesday.
The Tottenham manager was pictured on Hadley Common with Ndombele – in breach of the government regulations that permit people to exercise outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic only with members of their household.
Elsewhere on the common two other Spurs players – Davinson Sánchez and Ryan Sessegnon – were pictured running together, failing to respect the two-metre physical-distancing requirement.
A witness has told the Guardian he saw Ndombele, Sánchez and Sessegnon walking off after they had finished their workouts and they were 20 metres apart. The players live locally. The witness also said he saw Juan Foyth “on his own about a mile down the road” and Serge Aurier “about a mile after that”. There is no indication Foyth and Aurier breached the guidelines.
Spurs were moved to remind their players to respect physical distancing when exercising outdoors and Mourinho issued a statement yesterday. “I accept that my actions were not in line with government protocol and we must only have contact with members of our own household,” the manager said. “It is vital we all play our part and follow government advice in order to support our heroes in the NHS and save lives.”
The Portuguese is understood to be adamant that he adhered to physical distancing when with Ndombele and two other unidentified men on the common, even if that rather missed the point about his being there with them in the first place.
Mourinho has publicly criticised Ndombele since he took over last November, struggling to hide his frustration at the poor fitness and erratic performances of the club’s record signing. But everybody at Spurs has seen Ndombele’s quality in training and it has been noted that Mourinho would have taken such a strong line with the player only because he cares about drawing the best from him.
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