Jose Mourinho is certain "better days will come" for Gedson Fernandes but will "respect" it if his 18-month loan to Tottenham from Benfica is cut short in January.
Fernandes, who joined Spurs at the start of the year, has only made one appearance this season - in the penalty shootout win against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup in September.
The twice-capped Portugal international was also omitted from Spurs' Europa League squad and Mourinho conceded last month to Portuguese broadcaster SportTV that the 21-year-old midfielder could be recalled.
"The situation is sad because he was out of the Europa League list," Mourinho said ahead of Tottenham hosting Leicester on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
"By being out of that list reduced immediately a chance of nine matches that we already played in the Europa League, where we had five substitutions where we rotated the players a lot and we can bring to the bench 12 players.
"To be out of these nine matches I believe that breaks confidence levels and even dynamics and routines and was very bad for him."
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Fernandes has made 13 appearances for Spurs so far since his arrival in north London.
"If he remains at the club from January, I cannot answer you. I truly believe that we have to respect the player and Benfica," the Spurs head coach added.
"The player because he deserves all our respect and Benfica because as a friendly club deserves our respect.
"What they decide is fundamental and what they decide will prevail."
Mourinho praised the professionalism Fernandes has shown since the new campaign started despite struggling to force his way into the Spurs squad in the Premier League.
"These six months become really, really bad for us and for him," he said.
"On top of it he's a kid, it's incredible what I'm going to say, but since he arrived he didn't miss one single minute of one training session so even in low levels of happiness and motivation he is managing to be a very good professional.
"So hopefully better days will come for him and they will come for sure, with us or without us, but better days will come for sure."