Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho explains how Giovani Lo Celso has forced his way into his plans at Spurs, insisting he can play “everywhere”.
Joining the club on loan from Real Betis on deadline day, Mauricio Pochettino initially started to ease him in until the midfielder sustained a hip injury on international duty in September.
But the sacking of Pochettino saw him drop back down to the bench and it wasn’t until the turn of the year when he forced his way into Jose Mourinho’s plans.
Mourinho said: “First of all he showed an incredible personality because clearly, and I am not going to deny it because it is easy to understand it, when he arrived I didn’t give him a big opportunity to play two or three matches in a row. He had to be strong mentally to cope with that.”
“When a new manager comes to the club and doesn’t give you immediately chances I think maybe he feels, ‘Wow, he is not in love with me, he is not as in love with me as other players’.
“Other players I give immediately starts and big matches to play, like I did with Danny Rose. With Gio, I didn’t so he had to be mentally strong to cope with that.
“Then with his work, with his quality, with his personality, I think now he can play everywhere. Everywhere.
“He can play number 10, number 8, double midfield player with Winks. He can play on the right side, on the left.
“He can play everywhere. I am so, so happy with him. That is it. I like him very, very much.”
Lo Celso is in line to return to action on Sunday against Aston Villa after missing the previous game against Southampton with a groin injury.