Tottenham manager, Jose Mourinho, has a good reason not to be too concerned at having missed out on Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes.
The Portuguese has been a sensation since signing for the Red Devils and is still to finish on the losing side.
Sky Sports report that Fernandes has eight goals in eight matches, evidencing his importance to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
By contrast, Spurs’ Giovani Lo Celso hasn’t managed a goal or an assist in his 21 games for the north Londoners, per Sky Sports, but that hasn’t bothered Mourinho, who has said that he wouldn’t swap the Argentinian for his contemporary.
“I don’t know anything about that, but if that is true, and if Giovani Lo Celso was the player that came to Spurs [instead of Bruno Fernandes], then I would say I wouldn’t change Giovani Lo Celso for any player,” he said to Sky Sports, when asked if he regretted missing out on the now United midfielder.
“[I wouldn’t swap Lo Celso] for any player. It’s not just for Bruno, but for any player.
“I came to the club and he wasn’t playing. I think the only match he started was Red Star Belgrade away in the Champions League – apart from that he was not playing.
“When I arrived I went in other directions and he did exactly what I love a player to do: ‘I’m going to show you’.
“[There was] no spoiled kid reactions, no crying, no moaning, no agents and family throwing messages to the press and to the social media. It was just between him and me: ‘I’m going to show you’, and he showed me step-by-step.
“The way he was working every day, the way he was coming to matches, the way he was changing matches.
“I remember the match against Liverpool: he was on the bench, he came on for the last half-an-hour and he changed the game. The only thing that didn’t happen was us changing the result because we were so unlucky, but he changed the game.
“When he had his first start: ‘Goodbye, I give you no chance and this place is mine’. In this moment, what people can see from him is an injured player playing, or a player that during the week is not working like the others.
“He’s working with lots of different conditions to try to play and to try to resist until the end of the season so what you see from Gio now is not the end product – he’s a fantastic player for us.”
For a manager that can sometimes appear to throw his own players under the bus in order to deflect criticism from himself, such praise is a welcome change.
Given the right amount of patience from Mourinho and his staff moving forward, and the support of his team-mates, perhaps Lo Celso can prove to be every bit as good as Fernandes in due course.