The Argentina international has been nursing a major hamstring problem since December but has recently picked up a separate knock while stepping up his recovery.
Tottenham Hotspur Midfielder Giovani Lo Celso Suffers Injury Setback
Midfielder Giovani Lo Celso Unavailable for Europa League Tie
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Giovani Lo Celso has been nearing a return to full fitness for the last few weeks and looked set to feature for Spurs against Zagreb. However, the 24-year-old will be forced to miss the first leg against the Croatian side after picking up a minor knock to his back.
Spurs manager Jose Mourinho reassured that Lo Celso has recovered from his initial hamstring injury and Argentine’s back problem arose while regaining fitness.
Speaking ahead of Spurs’ Europa League knockout fixture, Mourinho told reporters at Football.London: “Gio is not ready but it’s nothing to do with his previous important injury, from which he’s totally recovered. But with his accumulation of work, he’s got a bit of back pain, so he’s had to stop what he’s doing. So, not [available] for this match.
“Apart from that, Joe Rodon the only player not selected because he is not in the UEFA list. Apart from that, every player is selected. As you know we can have two extra players on the Europa League bench and everybody is selected and everybody is fit.
“Am I going to repeat the same team that played against Crystal Palace? No, I’m going to make a few changes. But the team is working very well, everybody is training hard, everybody is pushing to play, so for me, it doesn’t matter who is playing as our team is going to be strong.”
Manager Mourinho to Continue Managing Other Attackers’ Minutes
With Lo Celso’s injury in mind, Mourinho will, no doubt, continue to rotate his squad as the business end of the season approaches.
Spurs’ progression in the Europa League has continued to add to the club’s already-condensed fixture list. Mourinho’s side were made to go through three qualifying games in September to reach the group stages – with Spurs topping their group before heading into the knockout round.
When asked about Spurs’ relentless fixture list throughout the season, Mourinho was not afraid to reveal his intentions in utilising the full armoury of his squad.
“No, it’s not difficult because we played an incredible number of matches already, more than 40,” Mourinho added. “Hopefully we have 15 or 16, 20 more to play until the end of the season. We need to rotate players, or players as happens in the last match with Harry Kane not playing 90 minutes, he played 80.
“In this moment without injuries, in attacking areas we have lots of options and it doesn’t matter who is on the pitch, we’re speaking about quality players.”