Pochettino: Ndombele only showed glimpse of his potential in ‘fantastic’ debut

The summer signing from Lyon helped Tottenham claim a 3-1 comeback win over Aston Villa.

By Press Association Published: 11 August 2019 - 9.22am

Mauricio Pochettino believes record signing Tanguy Ndombele has not even scratched the surface of what he is capable of at Tottenham despite a dream debut.

The France international, who cost £63million from Lyon in the summer, announced his arrival in brilliant fashion as he scored a fine equaliser for Spurs in their 3-1 win over Aston Villa.

It was the highlight of a debut that got better and better as the match went on, especially clicking with second-half substitute Christian Eriksen.

Boss Pochettino had previously warned that the 22-year-old will take time to settle into the English game and says there is much more to come.

“It was a fantastic performance,” Pochettino said. “But to be honest there is a lot to improve, he only showed 30 or 40 per cent of his potential. He has amazing potential to improve.

“It’s one of the aspects he needs to work on, he didn’t score too many goals at Lyon, but that is one of the areas that is a target for him to improve this season.

“It is so early, in his first game he scored. I am delighted for him, he is a player that arrived to the team from another country and it is always a difficult adaption and it is going to help him to feel happy and comfortable on the pitch and with his team.”

“It was a fantastic performance. But to be honest there is a lot to improve, he only showed 30 or 40 per cent of his potential. He has amazing potential to improve.”
- Pochettino on Ndombele

Eriksen’s introduction changed the game as the Dane helped unpick a Villa defence that were doggedly holding on to a lead given to them by John McGinn’s ninth-minute opener.

He played a part in Ndombele’s leveller, which provided the platform for two Harry Kane goals in the final four minutes to win the match.

Eriksen’s future is a constant topic of conversation as he could leave the club before the end of the European transfer window.

Christian Eriksen's introduction changed the game for Spurs against Villa
Christian Eriksen’s introduction changed the game for Spurs against Villa (John Walton/PA)

Pochettino leaving him on the bench could have easily been put down to his situation, but the boss hinted he is still not fully fit after a summer operation.

“Of course when Christian went on to the pitch he was more fresh and had more quality, of course he is a top player. He helped the team to win the game, I am so happy.

“That is the advantage of a player that cannot play 90 minutes, but is on the bench and his quality can help you to achieve the victory.”

Villa were 17 minutes away from making a winning return to the Premier League in their first game at this level since 2016.

Dean Smith
Dean Smith’s Aston Villa gave Tottenham a scare in their Premier League opener (John Walton/PA)

They have spent big in the summer and boss Dean Smith thinks they showed enough to suggest a Championship return is not imminent.

“Definitely, I think anyone who watched the game will have seen,” he said. “Pre-season has gone very well, we’ve played very well.

“The lads have integrated really well and there has not been as much change as everyone would have you think.

“It has been a seamless integration and you could see today from our defensive organisation that they have picked up how I want to play.”