Mauricio Pochettino Says Giovani Lo Celso 'So Far Away from What We Expect'

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIAugust 23, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Mauricio Pochettino the head coach / manager of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Friday that summer signing Giovani Lo Celso is still "so far away from what expect" in terms of fitness after a busy summer. 

The Spurs boss told a pre-match press conference that the club need to be patient with their new arrival who signed on deadline day from Real Betis on loan with an option to buy.

"I think Lo Celso is a situation that is not going to be easy. He was in extended holidays after the Copa America, he didn't have a proper pre-season and didn't train too much. Then signed for us after a week without training.

"He's training well but is still so far away from what we expect from him. We need to give him time. He was involved [on Saturday] and will maybe have the possibility to help the team in some points, but we won't expect too much from him."

Lo Celso was part of the Argentina squad that made it to the semi-finals of the 2019 Copa America in Brazil before being knocked out by the tournament hosts.

Football journalist Ben Hayward offered his view on Lo Celso's performance at the tournament:

Ben Hayward @bghayward

@TrevorPerea Perhaps not. But even Messi didn't look that good at the Copa América, although he was a lot better against Brazil. Lo Celso came out of it with some credit I think, and he'll get better. That price isn't huge in today's market for a playmaker...

Lo Celso made his Premier League debut for Spurs in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Manchester City. The 23-year-old replaced Erik Lamela for the last five minutes at the Emirates Stadium.

Yet he may have to wait to make his first start for his new club. Spurs take on Newcastle United at home on Sunday, and Pochettino's comments suggest the best Lo Celso can hope for is a place on the bench.

The Argentine is an attacking midfielder who scored 16 goals in all competitions for La Liga side Real Betis last season.

Statman Dave highlighted Lo Celso's contribution from midfield:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Giovanni Lo Celso in La Liga this season: 3.2 take-ons per game 2.4 tackles per game 2 shots per game Would be a phenomenal signing for Spurs. 🇦🇷 https://t.co/ozbjJANZm4

There is no doubt that Lo Celso is an exciting signing for Spurs and looks a good fit for Pochettino's young team.

Yet Spurs fans may have to wait to see the midfielder playing regularly in the Premier League. Pochettino is in no rush to start his new arrival and will wait until he is ready to make his full debut.