Jose Mourinho has told Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen can leave the club with his head held high amid reports the Dane is set for a move to Inter Milan.
Spurs announced on Wednesday the signing 21-year-old Benfica midfielder of Gedson Fernandes on an 18-month loan, and with Eriksen entering the final months of his contract, the question is if he will depart during this month's transfer window or at the end of the season.
Reports emanating from Italy have suggested Eriksen, 27, has agreed terms with the Serie A giants to move during the current transfer window, which shuts at the end of the month.
If that proves to be the case, Eriksen looks to have pulled on the lilywhite shirt of Spurs during Tuesday's 2-1 win over Middlesbrough that booked the Premier League club's place in the FA Cup fourth round.
Mourinho says that Eriksen, who joined the club in 2013 from Ajax, should be proud of his time in North London.
"He played very well. Played very well, very professional which is what I expect from him," Mourinho said of Eriksen's display against Boro.
"If his decision is to leave I think he has to leave with his head up, if he gives everything which is what he tries to do for the team.
"Fans, it's always to respect, we have to respect but I think the boy did it for us today."
The Denmark international is free to negotiate with foreign clubs with his Spurs contract ending on June 30.
Despite almost seven years of brilliant service to Spurs, where he was at the forefront of the team that has regularly finished in the top four over the past few season and reach a first Champions League final for the first time last June, his relationship with the fans has turned sour.
He was booed off against Liverpool at the weekend and again was jeered before kick off in the third-round replay over Boro, where goals from Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela set up a fourth-round meeting with Southampton.
Mourinho likened Lo Celso and Lamela to a couple of other Spurs Argentine FA Cup heroes following their impressive displays on Tuesday, saying Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa would have been impressed by their compatriots.
are the latest Argentinian duo to impress for Spurs in this competition, rolling back the years to the days of Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa.
"Do you want me to call them Ardiles and Villa?" Mourinho said laughing. "No. They played very well. Ardiles and Villa would not be ashamed of them for sure.
"They played very well. The team played very well, especially in the first half.
"But I am happy with Lamela and Gio. Lamela was out for so long, he has been coming back step-by-step.
"Playing 20 minutes here, half an hour against Liverpool and 90 here. You could see his fitness is coming.
"And Gio again has been step-by-step. He was so so good against Liverpool and so so good here again.
"I am happy with the boys. They played with intensity. And I am happy with result obviously."
Middlesbrough were unable to recover from the two early goals, though made a game of it after George Saville's 83rd-minute strike.