13 Jan Spurs playmaker Christian Eriksen to start against Boro amid transfer rumours
Jose Mourinho has confirmed Christian Eriksen will start Tottenham’s FA Cup replay against Middlesbrough despite speculation surrounding an imminent exit.
The Denmark international, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has been linked with a move to Inter Milan this month as Spurs look to offload a player who will not commit to a new deal.
Eriksen’s situation at the club has rankled with fans and he was booed off against Liverpool on Saturday after a particularly disappointing display.
After that 1-0 loss he was seen waving to fans, leading to suggestions that he might have played his last game at the club.
But Mourinho insists that, so stretched is his squad, he has no choice but to select Eriksen against the Championship side on Tuesday night.
“He plays tomorrow,” Mourinho revealed. “After that I have a match on Saturday and maybe he plays Saturday, again I cannot tell you much more than that.
“We are in our limits, we have very important injuries and every player we have is a player that has to be ready to help the team. We are not in conditions to think anything other than that.”
Eriksen has given a lot to Spurs over the last six-and-a-half-years, but his contract issue has coincided with a distinct dip in form.
Mourinho, who admitted his midfielder was poor against Liverpool, can understand the predicament Eriksen has found himself in.
“If you ask me if I think this is the best Christian I have to be honest and say no,” Mourinho said.
“If you ask me if I know the reasons, I am not an idiot, I am in football for many years and know clearly a player in this situation is not a player that is even if he wants…
“I am not blaming or criticising the player, I am just saying it is normal a player in this situation doesn’t perform at the highest level.
“But I can also say that he is helping us in matches that he is playing with us.”
Whether or not Eriksen leaves before the end of the month, Spurs are set to sign Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes on an 18-month loan.
The 21-year-old was understood to be having a medical at the club on Monday, but Mourinho was in no mood to give anything away.
“I am waiting for news, but when I say I am waiting news can come or not,” he said. “I’m more worried about Middlesbrough than the market.
“With the rules even if we get the player you cannot play him in a replay so in this moment I am not interested in Gedson or any other players who could come.
“I don’t know if we are getting. I don’t think the Benfica president and coach, both my friends, will be happy if I speak about one of their players.”
Mourinho, who revealed Toby Alderweireld would be rested against Boro, will hand another start to Japhet Tanganga – the 20-year-old who made his Premier League debut against Liverpool.
Tanganga’s contract is due to expire in the summer, though the club are understood to have an option that they are yet to trigger.
“Do you think I was going to play him if he finished his contract at the end of the season?” Mourinho said.
Ben Davies (ankle), Hugo Lloris (elbow), Tanguy Ndombele (hip), Harry Kane (hamstring) and Moussa Sissoko (knee) are all out.