Tottenham Hotspur are mostly healthy heading into their home match against Manchester United, which people cleverer than I have dubbed “El Sackico,” but there are a couple of exceptions. In his pre-match press conference on Friday, Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo confirmed that one player is out and one player is questionable... but it’s somewhat doubtful that either would feature on Saturday anyway.
“Bryan [Gil] we have a problem with, he came out in the game. We are assessing. [Ryan] Sessegnon is not involved, still not in the group. [Otherwise] normal knocks after the game. We still have the training session of this afternoon then we’ll see who starts.”
Sessegnon being out is no surprise, his severe injury has kept him out for the entirety of the season thus far. Bryan Gil, you may recall, was substituted in the 24th minute of Spurs’ 1-0 League Cup win at Burnley with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Nuno’s comments here are actually positive news, reading between the lines. That Gil is even being assessed and not ruled out entirely is a strong inference that his injury is relatively minor, more of a tweak than a serious injury. Further reading between the lines suggests to me that he’d probably be unlikely to start even when healthy, and even if he made the bench he’d be unlikely to be subbed in until after 80 minutes anyway. So this is fine, whatever.
Elsewhere, Nuno mentioned that the emphasis in training this week leading up to tomorrow’s match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been on possession, and progressing the ball into good attacking areas, something that has been a pretty notable weakness for this Tottenham team this season.
“Possession we’ve been able to increase our moment with the ball. We need to improve on when we have the ball in the final third to create better lines, better combinations that can finish in goals, chances, shots and crosses. But we are improving on being more compact, we are playing close to each other so the possession has been good.
“In terms of defensive aspects, we have been solid and we have to see the set pieces that really cause us a problem in the Premier League game against West Ham but we improved against Burnley. We didn’t concede too many chances and defensively we were spot on.
“This is how we work. Sometimes we improve things, some things don’t go so well and we go again. We keep insisting because we want to be a better team.”
Tottenham’s match against United is the featured game in the Saturday Premier League lineup and kicks off at 12:30 p.m. USA / 5:30 p.m. UK. It’s televised on NBC and Sky Sports.