Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho criticized Giovani Lo Celso’s work ethic without controlling the ball while winning the Ludogorets in the Europa League and said the Argentine-born player’s fitness level was not at its best.
Lo Celso, who suffered a hamstring injury last month and had to be sidelined in two English Premier League (EPL) matches, scored Spurs’ last goal in a 3-1 win in Bulgaria before being replaced with 18 minutes left.
Standing out when attacking, made three attempts and three important passes to ensure Spurs bounced back from a 1-0 defeat to Royal Antwerp in Group J, while the former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder also proved he can help in defense.
However, Lo Celso lost the ball 14 times, and Mourinho said the 24-year-old needs to show higher intensity if he wants to repeat his best performance when making his debut in England last season.
“He is good with the ball and not so good without the ball,” Mourinho said. “His physical condition is not good. He did not undergo pre-season preparations.
“He did not train before because he had problems. He did not train at that time when other players were training until he was up and down in his preparation.
“I feel that when he plays, he is not the Gio we know, not the Gio we know can be an incredible player. But with the ball, of course he is great and he knows what he needs to do and understands how we want to play.
“But we need to be stronger to be healthier and stronger in the transition. Of course, he played for more than an hour, and for that hour it was a football match that we had to win but training sessions were needed to improve his fitness.”