Tottenham Hotspur assistant manager Cristian Stellini has been speaking to the press ahead of the weekend, and has commented on the decision to drop Heung-min Son to the bench against West Ham last week.
Son was Tottenham’s top goalscorer last season, registering 24 goals in all competitions (Transfermarkt). He scored 23 of those goals in the Premier League to claim the Golden Boot award, sharing the accolade with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
However, this season has seen Son struggle to replicate that form, appearing reluctant to take players on and being frustrated in front of goal time and time again. The 30-year-old has just nine goals to his name so far this term (Transfermarkt) and has looked a shadow of his former self at times.
It has been this poor form that has seen many fans calling for Son to be dropped in favour of Richarlison. Some were granted their wish last weekend when the South Korean started the match on the bench before coming on to seal all three points by scoring the second goal of the game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to help lift the club back into the top four..
Speaking to Football.London, Stellini explained this decision, and by the sounds of it, it may have been down to fitness rather than an indictment of Son’s recent form.
He said: “It was about conditioning. Sonny had a problem that he’s had for a bit of time. Sometimes players need time to recover. We have a busy period coming up and we need everyone 100%.”
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There’s no doubt that playing as often as Son does, he will have needed a rest and especially so from a mental perspective with his confidence not at the levels which we all are used to.
It also came at the perfect time that Spurs were able to sit him out and use him as a sub, and especially a sub who is eager to prove his doubters wrong. I think Son should stay on the bench for the next game or two, and fight for his place alongside Richarlison.
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