EPL

Ange Postecoglou has not had discipline talk with Cristian Romero after red card

By Sports Desk December 06, 2023

Ange Postecoglou is pleased to have Tottenham vice-captain Cristian Romero back from suspension for the visit of West Ham, but has not felt the need to speak with the defender about his discipline.

Romero was sent off in Spurs’ costly 4-1 loss at home to Chelsea on November 6, which resulted in the Argentina international serving a three-match ban.

It was Romero’s fourth red card during his 75-game Tottenham career and, while he is recognised as a fine centre-back, the occasional rush of blood has proved costly.

Postecoglou said: “I’ve not had to have a word with (him) about discipline. It’s part of who he is as a player, he brings a physicality to it.

“When he oversteps mark the whole group pays a price so it’s up to him to maintain discipline I know he can show, but more importantly he’s such a strong presence on the field and in during the week, so good to have him back.

“His training has been good but he’s been frustrated because – not just the fact he has missed out – but he has understood the situation we’ve been in.

“It was not like he was the only one missing. All of a sudden post-Chelsea we lost Micky (Van de Ven), we lost Destiny (Udogie), we lost pretty much our whole back four, we lost Madders (James Maddison) and he knows how important he is.

“He was frustrated and he had the international week which was good for him because he got a couple of games in there and away from here, but he’s been ready to go.

“The last week he has trained really well and I know he is happy and I know the rest of the group are happy to have him back in.”

Romero’s return was always going to boost Spurs, but occurs at a time where their fringe centre-backs are also suffering fitness issues.

Youngster Ash Phillips sustained an ankle injury last month, while Eric Dier is absent for the foreseeable future with a groin problem he picked up last week.

“Romero’s the only recognised centre-half fit at the moment because Micky van de Ven, Eric Dier and Ashley Phillips are all out,” Postecoglou added.

“At this stage, because Eric hasn’t trained for over a week now and we’re working on the issue, I assume when he does get back, he’ll need a bit of time. It’s a groin issue.”

Spurs are set to be without Pape Sarr (hamstring) for the midweek clash with West Ham, but the midfielder could return for Sunday’s visit of Newcastle.

Meanwhile, Postecoglou played down speculation Maddison could be out until February with his ankle injury after the England international told Amazon Prime this week he could be out until beyond his anticipated January return date.

He added: “I’m not sure about James’ medical qualifications, whether we should go with his diagnosis. I’ll leave it to the medical team. As far as I know, it’s going along OK.”

Tottenham entertain West Ham after battling back to earn an excellent point at Manchester City, which ended their three-match losing run.

Postecoglou added: “I don’t like losing, it doesn’t sit well with me and I like winning, but for me last week was not about getting a result, it is the manner in which you do it.

“While it has been three losses and the draw last week, I still think our performances are the most important thing that sustains you through that period.”

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