Giovani Lo Celso can count his lucky stars that Tottenham Hotspur ran out victorious on Wednesday evening as his appalling display almost cost them dearly.
Goals from Gareth Bale and Heung-min Son not only sealed a valuable win in their pursuit for a top-four finish but they also signalled the first three points of the Ryan Mason era in N17.
The 29-year-old was appointed as Spurs’ caretaker boss until the end of the season following Jose Mourinho’s shock sacking on Monday and he may well want to think again before trusting the Argentine playmaker, with the Carabao Cup soon on the horizon.
Mason opted for a 4-3-3, with Lo Celso playing alongside Tanguy Ndombele at the top of the engine room and if you were to read post-match reaction from the Spurs bubble, then you’d think it was the latter that had the poorer game.
For example, the Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick claimed the French midfielder was still looking ‘sluggish’ having gone ‘off the boil’ under Mourinho in recent matches.
However, he played a crucial part in their opener, playing in a deft ball to Lucas Moura before it fell into the path of Bale, and that simply can not be understated.
By contrast, the list of words used to describe Lo Celso’s display could range from lightweight to wasteful, so it was really no surprise to see him hooked by Mason in the 79th minute, with the livewire Erik Lamela taking his place.
The £27m-rated dynamo was heavily involved in most attacks, often showing for the ball and that was backed up by the fact that he had 59 touches, seeing the ball once every 1.3 minutes, as per SofaScore.
But in possession, he offered next to nothing, failing to register more than one key pass from his 38 successful passing attempts, whilst he fired one shot wide and another was blocked when an easier pass was open.
Furthermore, he failed to complete a successful dribble from two attempts, proving to be the weaker man when up against James Ward-Prowse and Stuart Armstrong in the middle.
It was also telling that he won just two of 11 duels (18%), both on the ground and in the air, only further suggesting that he struggled big time.
His nightmare display was emphasised even more by his inability to keep possession, as he lost the ball 14 times – five other starters managed better, including Ndombele.
All in all, Lo Celso can count himself a little fortunate that he was firstly, playing a poor side that couldn’t capitalise on his mistakes, and secondly that they won the game because he quite rightly deserves criticism after that showing.
The 25-year-old, on the above evidence, was certainly worse than Ndombele, and given it was only his eighth league start of the season, he may well be lucky to be given another crack from the off.