Jose Mourinho might not be pleased with the timing of the international break and the way the games were organised but the international fixtures have arguably been positive for many of his players.
One of those is Giovani Lo Celso, who only recently returned to full fitness and has not seen much football over the past few weeks.
The midfielder was involved in both of Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Peru, which might prove valuable for the Tottenham man in building up his match fitness.
Lo Celso was one of Argentina’s best players in both matches, registering an assist each, with his performance against the Peruvians, in particular, earning rave reviews in the Argentine press.
Prominent Argentine publication, Ole claimed that the Tottenham star was the main architect of La Albiceleste’s 2-0 win on Wednesday.
The former Real Betis midfielder started at in a midfield two alongside Leandro Paredes, with Lionel Messi playing in the hole behind Lautaro Martinez. Ole even opined that the 24-year-old was more important to Lionel Scaloni’s side than Messi.
Here’s some of what they wrote about Lo Celso’s display:
“The left-handed trio made up of Nicolás Tagliafico, Giovani Lo Celso and Nicolás González mixed well: there was fine-tuning, understanding to intelligently occupy the spaces, correct interpretation of the role that each one had to assume and the 1-0 goal was the best demonstration.
“Gio played and went to look for the ball, accelerated on the band and braked masterfully to gain a few meters and play towards the area where González accommodated the pass and took an inaccessible crossed left-footed shot (Lo Celso’s assist for the goal).
“Every time the National Team took possession, Lo Celso opened up, left the central circle and the author of the 1-0 went higher, to stretch the team and fix, together with Lautaro, the rival defence.
“Gio’s football share was key, at times the true driver of the team over Messi, no less.”
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Jose Mourinho suggested a couple of weeks ago that it was only Lo Celso’s fitness that was holding him back from playing the Argentine together with Ndombele in midfield. These valuable minutes for Argentina would have certainly helped the 24-year-old build up his sharpness.
He also proved that he has the defensive capability to play alongside Hojbjerg in a midfield two, rather than in Ndombele’s role. While I do not expect Lo Celso to start this weekend, it looks only a matter of time before Jose starts with a three of Hojbjerg, Lo Celso and Ndombele.
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