Jose Mourinho criticised Giovani Lo Celso despite his impressive Europa League showing for Tottenham, declaring the midfielder is not fit enough.
Harry Kane scored his 200th goal for Tottenham in a much-improved Europa League performance for Mourinho’s team as they dispatched Ludogorets 3-1.
Mourinho questioned his players’ attitude after a much-changed team lost in Antwerp last week but Spurs had intensity to their play from the off in Bulgaria. Lo Celso was one of four players taken off at half-time during the 1-0 defeat in Belgium last week but was given another chance to shine by Mourinho, who has used him only sparingly this season with just one start to his name in the Premier League.
He answered the call with a man-of-the-match performance in midfield, capping his industrious and classy night’s work with the third goal.
But Mourinho was not in the mood for getting carried away with Lo Celso, questioning his fitness.
When asked to analyse his performance, Mourinho said: “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.”
The result leaves Mourinho’s side in a comfortable position with six points from their first three games in Group J with two home games still to come.
The Spurs boss was pleased with the reaction after a disappointing result last week.
“We started the game with ambition, which was different to what we did in Antwerp. So good attitude to start. We tried to kill the game in the first half.
“It was not possible with 2-0 because 2-0 the result is still open, but it was a strong start and performance with two good goals and hitting the post.
“We completely dominated and I don’t remember one single situation for them of danger. That made a difference because in Antwerp we gave an advantage to the opponent and then when they were good they were winning. They closed everything the way they could and we couldn’t react.”
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