December 16, 2023

Following Yves Bissouma’s dismissal during Friday’s 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest, Ange Postecoglou says his Tottenham players need to learn how to play his high-intensity football without “crossing a line”.


With 20 minutes remaining, Bissouma was issued a straight red card for a studs-up lunge on Forest captain Ryan Yates, earning him his third suspension of the campaign.


Due to his second ban of the season following his fifth booking at the City Ground, Destiny Udogie will also be absent from Everton’s visit on December 23.


In addition to missing the next four Premier League games against Everton, Brighton, and Bournemouth, Bissouma will probably miss the FA Cup third-round match on January 5 at home against Burnley.


The Mali midfield player will serve out the remainder of his suspension upon his return from the Africa Cup of Nations, which is expected to happen no later than late January, if he has been cleared to play before the Burnley match.


In any case, it seems unlikely that he will play for Spurs again before February, which makes Postecoglou’s selection worries even more pressing.


Postecoglou stated, “It’s a problem, but it’s not so much discipline.”


“I’ve not seen a slowed-down version, but it’s more of a desperate than malevolent thrust. I was impressed by the boys’ dedication, even if they are still learning how to play our football without going over boundaries.


“Unfortunately, we had to pay a price because he clearly misses a significant amount of football; it’s not just this game,”it is what it is


When questioned about the choice, Postecoglou continued, “I think they slowed [the tackle] down [on replay] and they saw what they saw, and we have to cop it.”


At the stroke of halftime, Richarlison headed home Dejan Kulusevski’s excellent cross to give Spurs the lead. Later in the half, the Swede took advantage of goalkeeper Matt Turner’s poor kick to make it 2-0.


Postecoglou described Kulusevski as “great.” Honestly, he’s been excellent the entire year.


We’ve used him in a variety of roles. He was pretty good when we first started him, and he was giving them trouble. We looked pretty strong, in my opinion, throughout that early phase, and we produced a few excellent opportunities.


We had to put Brennan [Johnson] wide after he went off. We have been putting a lot of effort into developing him into a more potent danger because we know what he is capable of.


We believe he still needs to close a gap in that particular area of his game. Having absorbed it, he is now putting himself in situations where he can score goals. He has demonstrated exceptional work ethic in the last few games, and he possesses the skills to support it.”


Johnson’s stint at his last team was cut short when he suffered a serious gash to the head and had to leave the game after just 30 minutes. Oliver Skipp was introduced by the Spurs as a concussion substitute, but Postecoglou said Johnson “should be OK” for next Saturday’s visit of Everton.


“He’s just got a nasty cut to his head, nothing that should keep him out,” Postecoglou said. “No concussion, just a cut on his head.”

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