Mauricio Pochettino was full of praise for his side after a 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion today at the AmEx stadium, but he singled out his third choice keeper for special attention in the post match press conference. Paulo Gazzaniga, making only his second Premier League start in a Spurs shirt, filled in for the injured Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm and played well in rainy conditions and difficult circumstances, and it was not lost on his manager.
“For me Paulo Gazzaniga was man of the match, he was fantastic, fantastic because the energy that translates to the team and I think his personality, his character, because he knew today that he was going to play.
“That is so difficult to play that way, and the condition of the pitch, the weather, windy, it was raining, I think for me he was man of the match. Maybe he didn’t make an unbelievable save, but I don’t know who was man of the match, but for me he deserved to be and I say well done to him on the pitch at the end, because of the energy and feeling he translated to the team was very calm and relaxed - ‘I am going to protect you’. That is the message he sent. That is why I am so happy with him.”
Gazzaniga (or as he is known on this website, “GAZINGA,” thanks to the mis-pronouncing of his name by a preseason International Champions Cup announcer) also played under Pochettino at Southampton and is from Murphy, the same small Argentine village as Pochettino. He made several good saves, though did let in an unstoppable goal by Anthony Knockaert in injury time.
When asked if we might see more of GAZINGA this season, Pochettino suggested that he could be in line to play this Wednesday in the League Cup against Watford.
“I don’t believe Michel is going to be ready for Wednesday. But the way, in our mind was to give him [Gazzaniga] the cup of course, that was the plan before what happened with Michel.”
Spurs development squad keeper Alfie Whiteman was Gazzaniga’s backup on the bench for today’s Premier League match, and likely the same will happen on Wednesday in Milton Keynes. In both of Gazzaniga’s starts he played well, though this time he avoided actually punching someone in the face the way he did in his Premier League debut last season!