Ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s Carabao Cup semi-final clash with Brentford this evening, Jose Mourinho has been dealt some worrying news…
According to the Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick, attacking midfield maestro Giovani Lo Celso is now set to miss the whole of January through injury.
The 24-year-old was withdrawn early during Spurs’ 2-0 defeat to Leicester City last month and did not feature against Wolves or Leeds United.
Lo Celso has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons over the festive period after he was pictured breaking strict tier-4 Covid regulations, along with teammates Sergio Reguilon and Erik Lamela.
Although this news comes at a bad time for Mourinho too.
The Portuguese tactician has labelled tonight’s match his biggest game since arriving in north London over a year ago, and he’ll have to steer his side to victory without one of his best players.
Lo Celso has contributed to six goals in all competitions this season and has been their most creative midfielder in the Premier League, averaging 0.8 key passes per game, which is more than Tanguy Ndombele and Dele Alli.
Only Harry Kane and Heung-min Son have managed more (of any player that has started four or more matches).
The duo combined for their 13th goal of the season, tying a top-flight record, but if Mourinho is to successfully negotiate the busy fixture list, he’ll need to find inspiration from elsewhere.
And without Lo Celso that is so much harder. The £28m (€32m) signing has been noted for his creative output before – Alasdair Gold lauded his urgency and desire back in September, whilst Harry Winks dubbed the gem “technically gifted” and “exciting.”
He clearly doesn’t fancy Dele Alli, who has been snubbed from the matchday squad in ten of 16 Premier League matches. He’s also been linked with an exit following Mauricio Pochettino’s appointment at Paris Saint-Germain.
Ndombele also carries question marks as he won’t be able to cope with the additional workload in Lo Celso’s absence as he’s barely able to complete a full 90 minutes – something he has accomplished only twice in 21 appearances this term.
This all leaves Mourinho with quite the headache, and he’ll have every right to be fuming given the lack of alternatives ahead of such a big game.
AND in other news, Spurs could find their own VVD with swoop for £36m leader…