Joe Cole thinks Tottenham’s loss against Wolves should dispel any notion that they are title contenders and argued that Ange Postecoglou should have started Giovani Lo Celso over Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on Saturday.
The clash at the Molineux Stadium was always going to be a difficult challenge for Spurs, given their long list of injuries and suspensions, which featured four of their most prominent players in James Maddison, Cristian Romero, Micky van de Ven and Destiny Udogie.
Unsurprisingly, the Lilywhites’ performance was their most lacklustre of the season so far, and just when it seemed like they would somehow emerge with all three points, Wolves scored twice in stoppage time to consign Postecoglou’s men to their second defeat in a row.
Does Giovani Lo Celso need to start next game?
Cole suggested that Tottenham’s lack of quality cover for their starters shows that they are still some way behind the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal.
The former Chelsea man told TNT Sports (as relayed by The Daily Mail) after Spurs’ 2-1 loss: “I didn’t consider them as title contenders, its a lesson learned for teams. You can win seven to nine games but the Premier League is unforgiving.
“They lost some of their influential players and some of the players that have come in are not quite at it. If they took a point it would have taken a little momentum going into the international break. But they’re miles off it for the league.
“Say if Man City lost De Bruyne, he is easily replaceable for them. Arsenal are in the second stage where Spurs need to get where they’ve still got players like (Gabriel) Martinelli and (Leandro) Trossard who can come in. At Tottenham, there’s not like-for-like replacements.”
Cole remarked that Spurs missed Maddison’s creativity in the middle of the park and suggested that they could have done with Lo Celso starting the game.
He added: “Tottenham’s defensive part of their game was good. (Eric) Dier and (Ben) Davies played well. But they missed Maddison massively. Ange will reflect and he put Hojbjerg in there.
“Maybe he could have put (Giovani) Lo Celso. Ange is fantastic but I think maybe he could have possibly put Lo Celso in there for a little bit more control and possession.”
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I have to say that I was quite surprised that Ange changed his system and started Hojbjerg, instead of swapping Maddison for Lo Celso, especially given all the talk we heard about the Australian never compromising on his way of playing.
However, the counterpoint to that is that we looked quite open at the back even with the extra defensive insurance offered by the Dane in the middle of the mark. So, it could have been even easier to get at our backline had Lo Celso started.
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