Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Giovani Lo Celso has responded to the scathing criticism thrown at him by his manager Jose Mourinho with an emphatic showing for Argentina on Friday morning.
The 24-year-0ld has been in and out of the Spurs squad for most of the season, starting just one of five Premier League appearances, and it appears that the Portuguese boss is rather unhappy with his fitness.
Following their win over Ludogorets in the Europa League, the Special One slammed the attacking midfielder, speaking to Sky Sports he said:
“[Lo Celso was] Good with the ball and not very good without the ball. His physical condition is not good. He didn’t have a pre-season.
“During the lockdown during the previous season he had problems – he didn’t train in that period when other guys were training so he has been up and down in his preparation.
“I feel that when he plays he’s not the Gio that we know, not the Gio that we know that he can be an amazing player.”
Well, the £31.5m-rated international delivered quite the masterclass in response this week.
Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni had to call upon the Spurs star just half an hour into their World Cup qualifier against Paraguay following a pretty serious injury to Exequiel Palacios, and playing as a no.8, he absolutely thrived.
Per SofaScore, Lo Celso recorded five tackles, three key passes (one more than Lionel Messi) and one successful dribble. He also made 88% of his 50 passing attempts, had 64 touches and won ten of 17 duels, so he was heavily involved.
Unfortunately, the South American’s couldn’t make the most of his influence as they drew at La Bombonera, the famous home of Boca Juniors.
Within 15 minutes of coming on, Lo Celso provided Nicolas Gonzalez with an assist for the White and Sky Blues’ only goal of the game.