LONDON (Reuters) – Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen will feature for Tottenham Hotspur in their FA Cup third round replay against Middlesbrough on Tuesday despite being reported to be on the verge of joining Italian club Inter Milan, Spurs coach Jose Mourinho has said.
“Eriksen plays tomorrow. Every player we have has to be ready to help the team,” Mourinho told a news conference on Monday. “We are not in conditions to think about anything else than that.”
The 27-year-old Eriksen, out of contract in June, has suffered a dip in form this season with his future at the club unclear and was substituted during Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat by Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday.
As he walked off Eriksen, scorer of 51 goals in 223 Premier League games for Spurs, appeared to wave farewell to the fans.
Some fans have become irritated with Eriksen’s lacklustre displays this season and Mourinho acknowledges that the uncertainty about his future has been a factor in his struggles.
“One thing is to not put his best performance in but for so many reasons players all around the world have better seasons than other players,” he said.
“If you ask me the reasons, I am not an idiot, I have been in football many years. A player in this situation, even if he wants — and I am not criticising him — it’s normal a player in this situation doesn’t perform in the highest level.
“But he is helping us in matches he has played for us. He’s had positive performances and contributions like against Olympiakos and Norwich (City). He didn’t have a very good performance in the game against Liverpool, I have to agree with that.”
Mourinho preferred not to talk about the possibility of Benfica’s Gedson Fernandes arriving on loan, instead focussing on the replay with Championship side Middlesbrough after the original tie was drawn 1-1.
“The priority this month is to win tomorrow. Difficult match, Championship teams we know what they can do,” he said.
“We know what Fulham did to (Aston) Villa, what Leeds (United) almost did to Arsenal, what Middlesbrough did to us.
“In our situation we are in our limits and incredible effort against Liverpool two days ago and players brought a level of intensity in that game they are not used to.”
Mourinho said 20-year-old defender Japhet Tanganga, who made his Premier League debut against Liverpool, is also likely to be given another chance to impress with Toby Alderweireld rested.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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