Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Postecoglou praises ‘threatening’ Tottenham star in clearest hint yet January offers will be rebuffed

Son Heung-min and Giovani Lo Celso celebrating for Tottenham

Son Heung-min and Giovani Lo Celso celebrating for Tottenham

Ange Postecoglou reminded his Tottenham Hotspur players they will get their chances to play their part after the exit-linked Giovani Lo Celso was singled out in their loss to Aston Villa on Sunday.

Making his first start in the Premier League this season, Lo Celso put Tottenham ahead in the first half against Aston Villa. Ultimately, though, the visitors turned the game around to condemn Postecoglou’s side to a 2-1 defeat.

However, there could be more chances coming the way of Lo Celso imminently, despite frequent suggestions he is being targeted by other clubs for January.

After the Aston Villa game, Postecoglou implied Lo Celso will ‘have to play a part’, effectively putting a stop to any notion of a winter departure.

Asked about Lo Celso at his post-match press conference, Postecoglou replied: “Yeah, I thought Gio did really well today in the role we had him.

“He was creative and scored a good goal. He was always threatening and he worked hard.

“He hasn’t played a lot of football. The reality of it is that we’re not going to get too many back. We’ll get Biss back for next week but we might have lost Bentancur.

“We only had six or seven on the bench so everyone who is here at the moment is going to have to play a part.”

Lo Celso, who has a contract until 2025, has been reintegrated at Tottenham this season after some time on loan at Villarreal.

Without some injury issues earlier in the season, he might have had chances sooner, but now he could build some more momentum alongside other perceived fringe players.

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Postecoglou said: “Gio, Rodrigo [Bentancur], Bryan [Gil] all started their first game this year. I think we had four full-backs and four wingers out there.

“I just thought the way the lads handled all of that, there were plenty of excuses for us to not be dominant today against a very good and settled Villa side, I thought some of our football was as good as we’ve played all year.

“We don’t get the rewards today and we’ve got to take the pain of the defeat but in terms of our progress I thought if we continue down that road we’ll get to where we want to.”

Postecoglou provides Bentancur injury update

One of the reasons Lo Celso could take on extra importance for Tottenham in the second half of the season is that Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr will be away for a while at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Furthermore, Bentancur had to go off with another injury, which Postecoglou finds hard to assess at this moment.

Asked about Bentancur’s latest blow, Postecoglou answered: “Yeah, not sure. It is his ankle I think. It wasn’t a great tackle.

“I thought he started the game so well and I think it was the reason we got a real good foothold on the game. He’s such a creative player.

“It’s the last thing we needed, another injury. So disappointed to lose him but we’re yet to see the extent of it.”

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