Jose Mourinho has revealed Serge Aurier and Toby Alderweireld were absent from Tottenham’s draw at Newcastle after linking up late with the squad due to coronavirus protocols.
The Tottenham squad scattered around the globe during the international break, and only returned following the final round of games on Wednesday.
The players had to undergo Covid-19 tests to gain entry into the Tottenham bubble, and defenders Aurier and Alderweireld were later than the rest of the squad in taking their tests.
Why Man Utd's backing of Solskjaer is bizarre but also very real - Inside Football
- I value loyalty - Solskjaer does not see Utd move for Aguero
- Carabao Cup final to have 8,000 fans at Wembley
Mourinho revealed following the 2-2 draw, which resulted in Spurs failing to go above Chelsea in the race for the top four, the pair did not return to training until Saturday - and were not considered for selection as a consequence.
“They were fit, yeah,” Mourinho said when asked why they were not included.
“But they reported for training only yesterday and 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. But did we lose matches with them or with them we were a perfect team defensively?”
When asked if indiscipline was what cost them the chance to feature at St James’ Park, Mourinho said: “I don't want to say indiscipline. I don't want to say discipline. I don't want to say that. This is what it is.
The players that landed in London on Wednesday after internationals and the ones that played in London as in the case of the English boys, they had the tests and they could immediately be in training on Thursday and so Thursday, Friday and Saturday and they couldn't. They appeared only yesterday.
Reflecting on the game, in which Spurs conceded a late equaliser, Mourinho said: “We had chances to kill the game but we create instability to ourselves with the mistakes that we made defensively.”
'A huge victory' - Guardiola full of praise for City side
Newcastle took the game to Spurs, but Son Heung-min had a chance to kill off the game but elected to pass rather than shoot - a decision which stunned Mourinho.
He said: “We had one ball in the second half where I don't know why Sonny tried to assist when I don't know why, he just had to control and score. We had the ball that Harry [Kane] hit the post and we had the ball when [Erik] Lamela just needs a simple pass to Tanguy [Ndombele] and Tanguy was in the face of the goal.
“Yes we could have killed the game but then you look to also moments of instability and a couple of actions where Newcastle could score and you take also your conclusions but for me as a coach it's very, very hard to analyse the game with you. It's very hard for me to do it and it's not for me to do it.”
Juventus down Mourinho's Roma amid VAR drama
Bruce the 'fall guy' amid Newcastle takeover, says manager's son