Best to come for Belgrade trio
Fri 08 November 2019, 16:05|Tottenham Hotspur
Three of our summer signings took the field together for the first time in Belgrade – and they’re all determined to show what they can do in a Spurs shirt.
Giovani Lo Celso marked his first start with a first goal for the Club in our commanding 4-0 win against Crvena zvezda (Red Star) in the Champions League. He was joined in the starting line-up by Tanguy Ndombele, who set up the second goal for Heung-Min Son and later Ryan Sessegnon, who provided the assist for our fourth goal for Christian Eriksen on his Champions League debut off the bench.
Sonny scored twice to complete a convincing win that leaves us well placed in Group B. Indeed, victory over Olympiacos at home in Matchday Five on Tuesday 26 November will see us progress to the knockout stage with a game in hand.
It was a night to remember for the whole squad but particularly for 'Gio'. The Argentine international’s long-awaited full debut after a lengthy time on the sidelines was only his second start in the Champions League (he featured seven times in it with PSG) and marked by his first goal in the competition. He was calmness in the storm to fire us into the lead after a crazy scramble in Belgrade, providing the platform for victory.
Typically of this squad, he spoke modestly afterwards. "I feel good, very happy to score my first goal for the Club and my first goal in the Champions League, but above all I am so happy for the win of the team. I think we did a great work and we got three very important points in this tough stadium."
Tanguy has seen most game time, featuring in 13 of our 16 matches so far including four out of four starts in the Champions League. He scored on his debut against Villa and his passing range in the final third has certainly caught the eye in recent weeks.
Fans will agree with Tanguy's view that he feels 'better and better with every game'. "I’m at a stage where I’m getting used to the play here and trying my best match after match to put into practice the work I’m doing on the training ground," said the French international.
"Little by little, I’ll improve but one thing I can say is that Tottenham haven’t seen the best of me yet. Hopefully that will come in time.
"It’s a big change for me in comparison with France. There is a lot more intensity, it’s a bigger fight out there and I know that’s something I’ve got to adapt to. The game just goes quicker in general, forward and backwards, and there are less breaks in play.
"I feel better and better with every game I play and over the course of the season I hope that I’ll continue to progress and that the Club will see the absolute best of me as quickly as possible."
Ryan told us that he fulfilled a 'childhood dream' by stepping out in the Champions League on Wednesday night. Like Gio and Tanguy, he certainly caught the eye on the night with his cameo off the bench, providing a real threat down the left and that assist for our fourth goal.
Ryan has had to sit out much of the season so far as he recovered from a serious hamstring injury. He knew that would be the case when he joined us, but a setback in September hit hard - all adding up to his longest stint out injured, just when he wanted to make an impression at his new home.
"I was injured when I signed, so I knew I was going to have to wait, but to suffer the setback was hard to take," he said. "I was getting so close to being available for selection so to get that knock back was tough. I stayed positive and I'm in a good place. I’m ready to take my chance.
"The mental side has been hard. I’ve been used to playing, playing, playing since the age of 16. This represents the longest period I’ve had on the sidelines and it’s been tough, but I’ve got positive energy from family, friends and also talking to players who have been injured before. I firmly believe I’ll come through this stronger as a player and a person, both physically and mentally.
“It’s good to be back,” he added post-match at the Rajko Mitic Stadium. “It's my Champions League debut – one of my childhood dreams. It’s a fantastic feeling, something I’ve always wanted to do and to come on and assist a goal is perfect.
"I’m raring to go. Every opportunity I get, I want to take. I’m grateful to the manager and to the players who have all welcomed me to the Club. I just want to keep repaying them with good performances.”