Jose Mourinho says Tottenham will not rush Giovani Lo Celso back from injury as the midfielder steps up his recovery.
The Argentina international featured mainly in the Europa League during the early part of the season, swapping in and out of the starting XI with Tanguy Ndombele as the Frenchman built up his fitness.
However, Lo Celso has not played for Spurs since the 2-0 home defeat to Leicester in December due to a serious hamstring injury. He has been snapped in training during the past week or so, but Mourinho revealed Lo Celso is around a week away from returning and he will not play the former Real Betis star before he is ready to compete.
He said in his pre match press conference before the Fulham clash on Thursday: “He’s training with the team but a big injury.
“We’re not going to risk him yet. In fact, we don’t want to risk him. We’ll bring him into the team when he is OK. Maybe one or two more weeks, everybody else ok.”
24-year-old Lo Celso has scored four goals in the Europa League so far this season and has another in the Premier League, when he netted moments after his introduction from the bench in the 2-0 victory over Manchester City in December.
Elsewhere, Mourinho revealed he thinks Gareth Bale, who scored twice in the 4-0 win over Burnley on Sunday, can play again on Thursday night, and added he wouldn’t be drawn on the debate between Roy Keane and Jamie Redknapp over Tottenham’s supposed ‘average’ squad.
He added: “[On Bale] I think so. Starting or starting on the bench, I don’t know. He’s a very experienced player. Good reaction though.
“I didn’t watch it. It’s not for me to comment on the pundits’ opinions. I have huge respect for Roy. I loved to work with him at Sky, but independent of that he is a winner and I have a lot of respect for him and his job as a pundit.
“I’m not going to make any comment of that otherwise I’ll be asked week after week.”