Don’t worry about it, mate — that was the overall tone that Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou took regarding the raft of injuries, both major and minor, that have hit his squad lately.
In his pre-match press conference, Postecoglou said while a Manor Solomon knee injury during training this week will keep him on the sidelines for the next couple of months and will have exacerbated an injury situation on the left side of midfield, he has options for Tottenham’s upcoming match at Luton Town. James Maddison and Son Heung-Min have been nursing knocks of their own, but both will be available to play tomorrow morning at Kenilworth Road, while Brennan Johnson is expected to return after the upcoming international break.
And even more notably, he implied that Giovani Lo Celso, who has missed several weeks with an injury of his own, is available for selection, contrary to recent reporting.
“Manor Solomon unfortunately during training got a significant injury to his knee, he’ll miss some significant game time over the next few months. That’s disappointing because he was contributing for us already and growing into his role. With Ivan Perisic already down, it’s not ideal when you lose a player in that position. Brennan Johnson is close but he’s not quite 100% and with the international break we’re kind of hoping he’ll get that time during that to be available straight after. Everyone else from last week is OK. Sonny’s fine. He trained the last two days, no problem.
“Gio [Lo Celso] and Bryan Gil both trained for the majority of this week. It’s good to have them both back and they’re both available.
It was revealed this week that Son Heung-Min has been dealing with a minor groin injury recently that has limited his minutes, but was still called up for the Korean national team by manager Jurgen Klinsmann. When asked, Ange downplayed any potential implications from Sonny traveling over the international break, and implied it’s not his role to keep his players out of international competition.
“As valuable as Sonny is for us he’s just as valuable for his national team. I’m sure Jurgen will look after him and Sonny looks after himself. It’s not for me to dictate to national team managers. I’ve been on the other side of the fence. When I was national team boss I took care of the players knowing full well they had to go back to their clubs. I’ve got confidence Sonny and Jurgen will manage him through that process. It’s nothing too drastic that needs to be done. Sonny is the best judge of that and he hasn’t missed a game for us yet and he’s contributing significantly for us.”
Luton Town at Kenilworth Road is the classic Premier League “trap game,” one that on paper looks like a comprehensive win but could be significantly trickier than expected. Postecoglou certainly isn’t taking anything for granted as they head to the smallest ground in the league.
“Yeah I think [Luton] will be [resilient]. If you look at all their games, maybe their results haven’t been as positive as they would have liked, but they’ve all been really tight games, they haven’t been blown away by anybody. That kind of tells you...Rob’s done a fantastic job to get them promoted in the first place. They did that on the back of some resilience and competitiveness that they’re bringing to the Premier League. They’re going to fight for everything, that’s what we expect tomorrow, we’ve got to play our football, try and steer the game to the kind of things we want to dominate in. If we don’t it becomes a real difficult game for us.
“It’s been a fantastic story. I’ve followed English football for a while and I remember Luton being amongst the big boys for a long time. They obviously fell down that pecking order of the football hierarchy but to fight back to where they are is great for the town. Rob has done a brilliant job. Even last year there were some pretty big clubs challenging for promotion. He got them up there. Any team that’s going to play them, they’re in for a tough game.”
Postecoglou is gaining a lot of attention for his loquaciousness in press conferences, and for his words coming back on him. Last week, quipping to reporters about his past as a childhood Liverpool supporter, he said that “loved Happy Days as a kid but [doesn’t] have a poster of the Fonz on my wall.” Actor Henry Winkler, who played The Fonz in the classic TV show, released a lovely video to Big Ange on social media, offering to send Postecoglou a signed poster. When asked about that video, Postecoglou had nothing but positive things to say.
“Firstly can I say, what a gentleman Henry Winkler is, he sent me a message and I was truly chuffed by that. I said during the week, sometimes you get disappointed when you mention your heroes, but what a great gentleman. If he does send me a signed poster I’ll definitely put it on my wall, despite the protestations of my wife.
“Look, if we win we go top of the table for 24 hours but who cares? We’ve got to win. It’s a tough game, our focus is on putting on a performance and playing at our best because if we don’t it won’t matter where we’re sitting on the competition ladder, it’ll be us focusing on a poor performance.”
Tottenham play at Luton in the early match on Saturday morning. Kick-off is at 7:30 a.m. ET / 12:30 p.m. BST.