‘Not very good without the ball’ – Mourinho reveals fitness issue with Tottenham man of the match

Jose Mourinho has criticised Giovani Lo Celso’s fitness after his man of the match display against Ludogorets yesterday evening.

Spurs bounced back from their 1-0 defeat to Royal Antwerp by defeating Ludogorets away from home. Though, the third-place Premier League side were less than convincing.

One man who stood out during the contest was midfielder Giovani Lo Celso, who has found Premier League opportunities hard to come by so far this term.

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Despite his man of the match performance, Mourinho gave some insight into why Lo Celso has been used scarcely while speaking at the full-time whistle.

Mourinho is quoted by the Daily Mail criticising Lo Celso’s fitness:

“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. So he’s been coming now, step by step.”

“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. But with the ball of course great criteria and he knows what he’s doing of course, and understands the way we want to play. But we need more intensity to be fitter, to be more intense and to be stronger in the transitions.”

“But of course he played more than an hour, and for that hour of course was a football match that we needed to win but it was also let’s say a training session to improve his match fitness.”

This is trademark Mourinho. Praising a player’s talent and criticising them in the same sentence. Claiming they don’t work hard enough off the ball. We’ve seen it all before.

In this case the criticism is probably justified. Lo Celso is not your quintessential Mourinho player, but with a bit of fine tuning, he could prove to be an important player for Spurs this season.

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