Mourinho to let Aurier decide if he plays after brother shot dead
Jose Mourinho will allow Serge Aurier to decide whether he plays against Newcastle United tomorrow night after the right-back’s brother was shot dead.
Christopher Aurier was killed outside a Toulouse nightclub early yesterday morning. Tottenham are supporting the Ivory Coast international and will grant him compassionate leave to return to France. That could rule him out of the trip to Newcastle, but Mourinho and Spurs are putting the well-being of the player first.
A Tottenham statement read: “The club is deeply saddened to confirm media reports that Serge Aurier’s brother passed away.
“We are supporting Serge at this difficult time and we ask that the privacy of the player and his family is respected. Everybody at the club sends their sincerest condolences to Serge and his family.”
Aurier helped Tottenham to a 2-1 north London derby win over Arsenal just hours before the incident involving his brother.
Toulouse police were called after residents found a man lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to his stomach. Christopher, who played for French fifth division side Rodeo Toulouse, had a trial with Brentford in 2011.
“Brentford were in League One. Everything went well with my trial, but I could not speak English at the time,” Christopher said in 2017.
“The coach [Uwe Rosler] told me, ‘It’s a shame you can’t understand my instructions. I’d have signed you otherwise’.”
While Tottenham will support Aurier in any decision he makes, Mourinho will face a difficult decision over who to play at right-back if the former Paris Saint-Germain man cannot face Newcastle.
With Kyle Walker-Peters on loan at Southampton, Tottenham do not have another natural right-back at the club and Mourinho has spoken of trying midfielders Gedson Fernandes and Oliver Skipp in the position during training.
Moussa Sissoko can play at right-back, but he has been influential in midfield, with Tanguy Ndombele still out of favour.
The victory over Arsenal reignited Tottenham’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Europa League, with games against Leicester City and Crystal Palace to come after Newcastle.
But the lifting of Manchester City’s European ban means that eighth place, which Spurs now occupy, will not be good enough for Europa League qualification.
That means they must overtake Sheffield United, who finish their season with games against Leicester, Everton and Southampton.
“I think after the lockdown defensively we’ve been a lot stronger,” said Toby Alderweireld, who scored the winner against Arsenal. “We’re getting there. We have some momentum going, so I think it (the Arsenal game) can be a changing point. We showed we have character.”