Mauricio Pochettino was happy that Giovani Lo Celso enjoyed a “very good” full Tottenham Hotspur debut in last night’s 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade.
The summer signing from Real Betis finally made his first start for Spurs, after six brief cameos off the bench, and marked it with the opening goal.
Spurs fans have been waiting patiently for a decent look at the 23-year-old who has spent most of his time with the club so far sideliend with injury, and would have been impressed with the Argentine’s all-round game.
So..— Paul O Keefe (@pokeefe1) November 6, 2019
Stronger than appears
Looks for early passes
Links up play
Not overly quick but can glide past players
Yep. The boy is talented
Pochettino also seemed pleased at his post-match press conference, but did, again, heed a warning of patience with Lo Celso and the other new boys.
Football London quotes him as saying: “I think it was very good [Lo Celso’s performance]. Always it’s difficult for a new player when he arrives, and after the team was very successful last season. He arrived at the end of the pre-season. The circumstances were that he was behind everyone, got injured with the national team and then it was about building his fitness and his confidence, and then waiting for the opportunity to be in the starting XI and feel the opportunity.
“I am happy because he is a very good player and his personality and character is great. Now he only needs time like Tanguy [Ndombele] and Ryan Sessegnon. They are so young. They arrive now to the team in difficult circumstances, not the best circumstances. That is why like I tell you always I don’t expect too much, I am happy with that they provide to the team. They need time. I am happy with the players.”
Poch’s words indicate that Lo Celso is going to get the same treatment as Tanguy Ndombele, who has been in and out of the team in his debut season, starting six Premier League games and being a substitute for three others. Lo Celso may be integrated slower than that because of his injury and the greater competition for places in the attacking midfield positions.
I’d expect Lo Celso to be rotated with Christian Eriksen, also a scorer last night, until January when the Dane’suncertain future may be resolved.
We’ve seen before, as recently as after the first meeting with Red Star, that Poch ignores the temptation to stick with a winning team in favour of rotation so Lo Celso will likely be back on the bench for Saturday’s visit of Sheffield United – our last fixture before another international break.
It is frustrating – for us and the player – but that is the way Poch works.