Mauricio Pochettino says Son Heung-min will be ready to take on Newcastle United after serving a Premier League suspension, but warned fans not to expect too much too soon from Giovani Lo Celso.
Son missed Spurs’ first two games of the new season due to a ban after he was sent off against Bournemouth at the end of last term, while Lo Celso made his debut in a short cameo at Manchester City last weekend.
The South Korea star hit 12 league goals in 2018-19, a campaign disrupted by the Asian Games, where he led his country to glory and avoided being called up for military service as a result, and their subsequent run to the Asian Cup quarter-finals.
Son’s availability to face Newcastle on Sunday comes with Tanguy Ndombele ruled out by a thigh injury, while England midfielder Dele Alli has returned to training after a hamstring problem.
“Unlucky for him that [the ban] was over the holiday,” Pochettino told a news conference. “I think he was training really, really hard to keep fit and improve in different areas. We are happy in the last few weeks he was unbelievable in the way he was available to train and compete in every single training session and I hope it’s going to help the team from now.
“I think it was a good opportunity for him to build his fitness and have a proper pre-season which sometimes when you’re involved in competition is difficult. For him, looking at last season which was really, really complicated for him and difficult and we used that situation and trying to be positive and helping him to get really fit to help him and the team.
“Because the pre-season is so important for every player, but sometimes the priority is holidays and this type of situation with him it was so clear that he was going to be suspended for two games and the plan was to provide him with good quality training to improve in different areas – and when the moment he is available to play to be in the perfect condition.”
@JuanMFoyth (ankle) – continuing rehabilitation.
@RyanSessegnon (hamstring) – continuing rehabilitation.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 23, 2019
Lo Celso, who joined Spurs on loan from Real Betis with a view to a permanent deal, played five minutes from the bench in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against champions City.
“I think Lo Celso is a situation that is not going to be easy,” Pochettino said of the versatile Argentina midfielder. “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.
“We need to not put the responsibility on him, only to improve and adapt himself with us and see. It’s a natural process to learn and improve. In the moment he will be fit and deserves to play then sure he will have the chance like other players.”
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