Ange Postecoglou has admitted that it would be impossible to replace James Maddison with a like-for-like option, remarking that the system needs to be adjusted to replace the attacking midfielder’s creativity.
Maddison has arguably been the best player across the Premier League so far this season, with the 26-year-old being the one who has made Tottenham tick as an attacking unit.
Apart from the England international’s impact in the final third, Spurs will also miss his leadership skills, now that it has been confirmed that the former Leicester City man will be out of action until next year.
James Maddison’s injury is a blow to Spurs
Postecoglou has revealed that he will tweak the overall structure of the side to be able to cope without James Maddison.
When asked about replacing the midfielder, the Australian told Football.London: “I don’t think you can replace him but the system kind of adjusts to the individuals within it, we didn’t create a system for Madders. We had a system and Madders fit into that he brought his own qualities to it.
“Whoever we bring in to replace him isn’t going to be the same player, he’ll bring different qualities to it, but it won’t change our overall structure or intent in the way we want to play. It’s just there’s going to be some variances in there because of the nature of a different player being in there.
“I’m just disappointed for Madders. He’s had an unbelievable start of the season, he’s probably been one of the best players in the competition and he was looking forward to striving for more. I’m disappointed for him that that’s been interrupted in the short-term.”
Tottenham will not just have to cope without Maddison but will also have to field a completely revamped back four, with Micky van de Ven out with a hamstring injury and with Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie suspended for the fixture.
When asked if Guglielmo Vicario would have to play more as a sweeper-keeper as he did in the second half against Chelsea, now that Spurs do not have Van de Ven’s recovery pace to bail them out, Postescoglou responded: “Not necessarily. Obviously, we spoke about it the last game that we felt Vic would probably have to be more aggressive with his position in the second half with what we were trying to do.
“So he started off in a higher position than normal, but 11 v 11 I don’t expect there to be too much of a difference from what he’s done so far. He does have the capacity to do that and it was one of the attractions I had because it does become important when you want to be aggressive with your line, that you have a keeper who is not hesitant coming off it.
“We did speak about it at half-time that we felt like we wanted to be aggressive with our line and being a man down and knowing how Chelsea would set up, there would be fair opportunity that he would have to be ready for that.
“I thought he was outstanding on Monday night. I thought he was brilliant, not just with his goalkeeping, but his whole mentality with at times being a one-man defence with what was coming to him. I thought he was outstanding.”
Spurs Web Opinion
This is now a great opportunity for Giovani Lo Celso to show what he can do and to rescue his Tottenham career. As much as Ange says that there is not a like-for-like replacement for Maddison, the reality is the eight/ten role in his 4-3-3 system is arguably the ideal one for a player of Lo Celso’s attributes.
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