Ange Postecoglou will hope fit-again Giovani Lo Celso can provide the creative spark for Tottenham when Bournemouth visit on Sunday.
Spurs’ selection issues have increased after Dejan Kulusevski received his fifth caution of the season in Thursday’s 4-2 loss at Brighton and will sit out the New Year’s Eve clash.
Kulusevski had stepped up in the absence of chief creator James Maddison, but Postecoglou is pleased to have Lo Celso to call upon again after a recent muscle injury.
“Gio dropped out the team because he was injured. It wasn’t by decision,” he said.
“He was going well when he got injured. We’re going to have to make another adjustment there (in midfield).
“I thought Gio, when he came on (against Brighton), was good. He was good last week when he came on (against Everton). It’s good to have him back fit and available.”
Lo Celso had scored in consecutive matches before sustaining an injury earlier this month as he attempts a redemption arc at Tottenham.
Signed for a hefty fee in 2019, the Argentina playmaker has struggled but been given a lifeline by Postecoglou and despite continued interest from Barcelona, Spurs have no intention of letting the midfielder leave in January, the PA news agency understands.
Both Lo Celso and Oliver Skipp could earn starts against Bournemouth, who have won six of their last seven games.
Postecoglou added: “Yeah, tough. Every game’s tough. We played Everton, they were on a great run as well.
“Every week’s a challenge. Short turnaround for us. Hopefully we might get Oliver Skipp back, probably the only fresh legs we’ll have to contribute to what we’re doing, but good challenge for us.
“We’re at home. Whilst we’ve had a couple of losses at home, every home game we’ve been well in them and we’ll need to be at our best to match Bournemouth.”
Postecoglou acknowledged it would be a “different” challenge compared to Tottenham’s 2-0 win at Bournemouth in August and also paid tribute to his opposite number Andoni Iraola.
“He’s done a great job. They didn’t have a great start and it would have been very easy, not just him but the whole club, to shy away from what they were trying to build but they’ve stuck at it,” the Spurs boss explained.
“And the results recently have been very, very promising. It’s credit to him and the football club that they’ve stuck to what the plan’s been.”