There were signs Tottenham’s Sergio Reguilon was favouring his thigh in the lead up to the match, so was it a mistake for Antonio Conte to start the Spaniard?
Conte has received rave reviews for the resounding positive effect he’s had on Tottenham Hotspur Football club since taking the helm a month ago, and rightly so. But did the Italian take an unnecessary risk by starting his vulnerable left wing back? It’s easy — after seeing Reguilon withdrawn in the 22nd minute with a thigh injury — to say yes.
It’s always easy to pass judgement in retrospect.
But on this occasion, Conte should have erred on the side of caution, especially considering the opponent and congested nature of forthcoming fixtures. Reguilon’s thigh was heavily strapped and he was seen rubbing it in the warmup.
Conte would have heeded advice from Tottenham’s medical staff while listening to Reguilon’s plea to play. But ultimately it’s the gaffer’s decision. And in this instance, Conte got it wrong.
Surely Spurs have the personnel to take care of business at home against Norwich, a team reeling at the bottom of the table, without risking the fitness of an instrumental player. Then again, we all know what happened when Conte opted to start Ryan Sessegnon in Europe against Mura. The 21-year-old endured a howler in Tottenham’s 2-1 loss. Sent off in the 31st minute for two bookable offences, Sessegnon put his side in a particularly unsavoury position.
I’m sure Sessegnon’s abysmal return to first team action contributed to the gaffer’s decision to risk Reguilon. Fortunately for Conte and Spurs, it appears Reguilon’s injury isn’t serious. With five Premier League matches in three weeks, it’s crucial for Spurs to avoid the injury bug, especially to influential players.
Reguilon and Cristian Romero — two of Conte’s preferred starters — are now resigned to the treatment table, hopefully fleetingly in Reguilon’s case. We know Romero will probably be out until the beginning of 2022.
Sessegnon, who replaced the injured Reguilon, redeemed himself in a strong outing. Hopefully Sessegnon also instilled some trust in his gaffer, who will now more than likely be forced to start the Englishman when Spurs travel to Brighton on Sunday.
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While everything else is currently rosy in Tottenham land, I wonder if Conte regrets his decision to start Reguilon. Though he doesn’t seem like the type to regret anything, Conte might next time choose to err on the side of caution. If Sessegnon continues to play like he did against Norwich, Conte shouldn’t be coerced into taking further unnecessary risks.