Ange Postecoglou had a lot to say in his press conference ahead of Tottenaham Hotspur’s match against Wolves tomorrow morning. He’s normally pretty loquacious, but you can forgive him for that this time in particular — there’s a lot going on. Spurs will likely make at least five changes to the lineup that started the match against Chelsea due to a combination of injuries and suspensions. Spurs went from dark horse Premier League title contenders to perhaps a significant regression, though falling away is far from a sure thing either.
First, Ange spoke about the various injuries afflicting the squad after Monday’s game and provided some clarity on their statuses.
- Micky van de Ven won’t require surgery, but it’s unlikely he features before the start of 2024.
- James Maddison has what sounds an awful lot like a high ankle sprain, and he too likely won’t be back until the new year.
- Richarlison’s groin surgery was planned for this week due to the international break, and he’d been playing through it for the whole of this season.
“Fair to say there was a fair bit happening after Monday night. If I can go through them... Micky Van de Ven with a hamstring injury we knew was fairly significant. Probably a couple of months for him - looking into the new year.
“Madders, a lot worse than we thought. He came off with the ankle injury, but the next day wasn’t great so we sent him off for a scan. So again not great for him and probably into the new year for him.
Richy had the operation, which we’d kind of scheduled anyway because Richy has been battling with it from day one and we thought with the international break coming up we thought it would be a good time to get it done. He should only be a month if everything goes well so not too long after the international break.
“They’re the main ones, obviously we have a couple of suspensions as well. Davies is back and available. Porro’s fine. He’s trained.”
Van de Ven’s injury was described as “significant” by Postecoglou after the Chelsea match, and when asked he went into a little more detail about his mindset, and the impact his absence will have on the team.
“Like any footballer, that’s probably [Micky’s] biggest fear — that there’s always the possibility of injury disrupting their careers. He was obviously disappointed but now it’s about rehab and making sure he uses his time to come back better than ever. He’s got good support in the building in terms of the medical team and support staff. Knowing Micky in already the time I’ve spent with him, he’ll leave no stone unturned to make sure he comes back bigger and better.
“All the absences have an effect on the team. I guess the unusual one for us [is that there are] not many times in my career when you have such a disruption for one game. We’ve lost four or five starters in one game — three of our back four. That’s where we get affected more than anything else. If it was just Micky, you’d miss him because of the qualities he has. It wouldn’t disrupt us as much. But we’ve got to bring in three different players in a back four, and that’s the big challenge for us.”
With so many injuries and players out, talk quickly shifted to the January transfer window. It was assumed that Spurs had a plan for January, especially after a few last minute deadline day transfers didn’t work out, and Postecoglou confirmed that the club knows what it wants to do, though his attention is entirely on what’s in front of him right now.
“Look, my focus is that we still have a fair few games between now and January. And that’s where my attention has got to be. The planning in terms of January has been in the works for a while. As I said last week, Johan [Lange] is in the building and that’s his area. He’s getting his department together. He’ll get all the information, and we just have to keep working to the plan we started with.
“I’ve said right at the start we’ve only had one window trying to build a team - it was never going to happen in that one window, but obviously we have to plan. Whether that’s January or the summer or beyond and we’ll work through that. But what’s important to me is that we still have a significant number of games between now and January. And we want to make sure we’re performing at a good level.”
Ange was asked if the “disruption” as he called it might mean a redemption arc for Giovani Lo Celso, who is Maddison’s most obvious like-for-like replacement on the team and who has played only a bit role thus far in the season. Postecoglou, true to form, agreed, but said it’s not only about him, but about all players on the fringes of the squad.
“Look, it is not just [Lo Celso], it is Bryan Gil, we’ve got to be careful with [Rodrigo] Bentancur a bit, it is for him, it’s for [Oliver Skipp], for Eric Dier, for all these guys. That is why they have been training hard. They have been training with us, they haven’t been separate from the group.
“Everything we’ve done, we’ve done together. They’ve worked hard and for all of them it is about being prepared for when the opportunity comes. Fair to say the opportunity comes now for a few of them. It’ s up to them now to take that opportunity, but they’ve been preparing themselves for that since the first day.”
In another short turnaround ginned up by the geniuses in the Premier League Scheduling Department, Tottenham kick off at Wolves in the early Saturday match. Kick off is 7:30 a.m. ET / 12:30 p.m. GMT. The match is televised on USA Network in the United States and TNT Sports in the UK.