Cristian Stellini explains Yves Bissouma exclusion from Tottenham Hotspur starting XI vs Portsmouth
Tottenham Hotspur made a late change to their starting XI against Portsmouth in the FA Cup third-round tie on 7 January at N17 after Yves Bissouma’s injury.
The Mali international was initially named in the XI to take on Pompey but Spurs confirmed just before kick-off that he will need to be replaced. He apparently pulled up short in the warm up and was rested as a precaution.
Bissouma apparently informed manager Antonio Conte that he wasn’t a 100% and the club decided to play Oliver Skipp in his position. The Englishman, hence, partnered Pape Matar Sarr in our midfield.
Fans would have obviously been concerned by the former Brighton & Hove Albion star’s fitness problem. However, assistant manager Stellini has provided a rather reassuring update about Bissouma after his team’s 1-0 win.
He said after the game (h/t Football.London):
“It’s an injury that came from the last match. Bissouma has an ankle problem. He tried to push himself and we worked to have Bissouma on the pitch, but he was mature to say the truth and he was not 100%.”
“It’s very good when the player speaks and tells us they are not 100% and it’s better to use a player that is available 100% as Skippy was and he played a good match. We are happy that Bissouma spoke the truth and we could make the right choice.”
When asked if Bissouma will be fit to face Arsenal on Sunday (15 January), Stellini said, “yes absolutely“. These are the two words our fans would have been eager to hear after the win against Portsmouth.
Rodrigo Bentancur’s injury for Uruguay against Ghana at the 2022 FIFA World Cup has left us shorthanded in midfield. Thankfully Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has been fit.
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The Denmark international and the Malian star are expected to be our pairing in midfield if Bentancur doesn’t make it for the north London derby. A good day’s work for the Lilywhites and we haven’t lost anyone to injury… bring on the derby!