Tottenham Hotspur gaffer Jose Mourinho has said that the club’s star midfielder Christian Eriksen’s dip in performances is due to the ongoing transfer speculation over his future at the club.
Eriksen’s contract is set to expire in the summer and it is said that the Danish midfielder only wants to play for Spanish giants Real Madrid or Barcelona or at most for Serie A giants Juventus.
The Denmark international started in Spurs’ 1-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday but was substituted for Argentine winger Erik Lamela on 69 minutes.
“If you ask me if this is the best Christian Eriksen, I have to be honest and say no,” Mourinho said in a news conference on Monday. “I’m not an idiot, I’ve been in football for many years. A player who is in this position, it’s normal that a player in this situation doesn’t perform at the highest level.”
Eriksen was jeered off by sections of the fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as the hosts lost to table-toppers Liverpool 1-0 on Saturday.
Mourinho says he agrees with the fans’ assessment on the Denmark midfielder’s performance but says he has a degree of sympathy for the player and his circumstances.
“One thing is to not put in his best performance, that is Christian Eriksen and so many players around the world. For different reasons you have better seasons than others, better matches than others,” he said.
“If you ask me if I think this is the best Christian Eriksen – I have to be honest and say no.
“I can also say that he is helping us in matches that he is playing. He had positives performances and contributions. If I remember the game against Olympiakos. He came in and gave us a lot, the same against Norwich.
“Our fans thought he didn’t have a great performance against Liverpool – I have to agree with that.”
Eriksen was red in hot form last season after having made 17 assists while also notching up 10 goals in 51 games in all competitions but has since then failed to replicate his form with just three goals and three assists in 25 games this time out.
Sources in Italy said Inter Milan are also monitoring the situation.
However, the Spurs boss seemed to rule out an imminent transfer for the Dane saying the 27-year-old will be involved in Tuesday’s FA Cup third-round replay against Middlesbrough due to the number of injuries in his squad.
“He plays tomorrow,” Mourinho said. “After that, I have a match on Saturday and maybe he plays. I cannot tell you more than that.
“Again, we are in our limits. We have important injuries and every player we have has to be ready to help the team. We are not in a condition to think any different than that.”