Speaking to SPURSPLAY ahead of the match, Antonio Conte’s assistant, Cristian Stellini, confirmed that Cristian Romero – who was left out of Spurs’ squad to face AFC Bournemouth on Saturday as a precaution – will be unavailable for the trip to the Orange Vélodrome on Tuesday evening, as the centre-back is reportedly suffering from muscle fatigue.
Regarding the 24-year-old, Stellini said: “The only news is that Cuti Romero is not available for the match tomorrow. We are sorry, but it is what it is. We have other players available, we have a good squad and we are well prepared to play a tough game, a knockout game like tomorrow.”
Considering just how influential a part of the Spurs side Romero has become since his move to north London last summer, the news that the Argentina international will not be available for such a crucial Champions League fixture will undoubtedly have come as a huge blow to Conte.
Indeed, over his eight Premier League appearances so far this season, the £69m-rated talent has been a rock at the back for Spurs, helping his side keep one clean sheet, as well as making an average of 2.4 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 2.8 clearances and winning 5.4 duels – at a success rate of 59% – per game.
Furthermore, the £165k-per-week defender has also caught the eye over his five Champions League fixtures this term, helping the Lilywhites keep one clean sheet, in addition to making an average of 2.6 tackles, 1.8 interceptions, 1.4 clearances and winning 4.8 duels – at a success rate of 63% – per match.
As such, it is clear to see that Romero’s loss ahead of a game in which Spurs must take at least a point in order to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition is a huge blow for Conte – who will be hoping that Davinson Sanchez can improve on his disappointing performance against Bournemouth on Saturday when filling in for the Argentine this evening.