Ange Postecoglou pleased to see Cristian Romero ‘step up’ and lead by example

By Sports Desk January 26, 2024

Ange Postecoglou has praised Tottenham vice-captain Cristian Romero for stepping up in Son Heung-min’s absence.

Spurs are without current skipper Son due to his international commitments with South Korea and Romero is set to wear the armband again in Friday’s FA Cup tie with Manchester City.

Romero was captain for the 2-2 draw at Manchester United two weeks ago and Postecoglou talked up his growing leadership qualities.

He said: “There’s definitely a void there but with all these things there’s definitely opportunities. That’s where Romero has really stepped up.

“You just feel it around the place. He knows that Sonny’s not here and he knows what Sonny does on a daily basis.

“Sonny gets around everyone in the building and says, ‘how you going?’ and Cristian’s doing that now. I can see that. In training he’s a lot more vocal than he was in the past. That’s the beauty of it.

“There is a void because you’re missing one of your leaders, but for me, on the outside, you’re kind of waiting on, ‘is anyone going to step up here because we’re going to need someone to or do I need to interject myself into it?’ But he’s stepped up.

“There’s been others too, Vic (Guglielmo Vicario) in goal, he’s stepped up.”

Postecoglou watched his team endure a horrid November period where they were hit with a string of absentees.

Spurs were able to regroup during December and while they remain without Son, Pape Sarr and Yves Bissouma due to the Asian Cup and Africa Cup of Nations respectively, the Australian feels the adversity has accelerated the growth of his young group in his debut campaign in charge.

“There’s a really good feeling amongst the group at the moment over where they’re at,” Postecoglou added.

“They understand that because of what we’ve been through, ‘OK, somebody’s missing, man down, but somebody fills that void and we keep going until they come back’. I think it’s been good for the growth of the team.

“This year for me is about growth. You don’t want to orchestrate these scenarios where we get challenged and have players missing, but the fact that we’ve gone through it, I just think has accelerated our growth.

“We could have flown through this first half of the year and I’m sure all the questions to me would’ve been, ‘what happens when there’s a hiccup?’ and I wouldn’t have been able to answer that question.

“I’d bluff my way through it but I wouldn’t have been able to really answer it.

“But I already know, I’ve seen the resilience and part of that is how I’ve dealt with those absences.”

Related items

  • Fiorentina 2-2 Napoli: Kvaratskhelia keeps visitors' slim European hopes alive Fiorentina 2-2 Napoli: Kvaratskhelia keeps visitors' slim European hopes alive

    Dethroned Italian champions Napoli's hopes of playing European football next season are hanging by a thread after they played out a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina in Serie A on Friday.

    Napoli took the lead in the eighth minute through defender Amir Rrahmani, who nodded home a corner by Matteo Politano.

    Cristiano Biraghi levelled for Fiorentina in the 40th minute from a free-kick, before M'Bala Nzola put the hosts in front two minutes later when he fired a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

    Napoli's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia responded with another stunning free-kick early in the second half to rescue a point for his team.

    Eighth-placed Fiorentina, on 54 points and with a game in hand, are five points behind Lazio in seventh.

    They can still earn a Europa League spot either by leapfrogging the Rome side or by winning the Europa Conference League final in which they face Greece's Olympiakos on May 29.

    Ninth-placed Napoli, on 52 points, still have a slim chance of making the Europa Conference League playoffs.

    Data Debrief

    Fiorentina left-back Biraghi has now scored six goals from direct free-kicks since the start of 2021-22, which is behind only James Ward-Prowse (seven) - now of West Ham and formerly of Southampton - as the most across Europe's top five leagues in that period.

    Kvaratskhelia also levelled via a direct free-kick, making this the first Serie A match in which both teams scored via that route since Fiorentina against Lazio in April 2018 (Jordan Veretout and Luis Alberto in that case).

  • Southampton 3-1 West Brom (3-1 agg): Saints set up play-off final with Leeds United Southampton 3-1 West Brom (3-1 agg): Saints set up play-off final with Leeds United

    Southampton saw off West Brom 3-1 at St Mary's on Friday to set up a Championship play-off final showdown with Leeds United.

    Leeds thumped Norwich City 4-0 at Elland Road 24 hours earlier to book their place at Wembley, where Southampton now await on May 26.

    The first leg between the Saints and West Brom finished goalless - just like the other semi-final - but the home side's quality told in the end.

    Russell Martin's side dominated the first-half possession, with David Brooks going closest to scoring with a shot that hit the outside of the post.

    Southampton made the breakthrough via a powerful Will Smallbone finish four minutes into the second half after Gray Diangana lost possession.

    Darnell Furlong had a shot helped over by Alex McCarthy, while David Brooks - who assisted the opener - had a strong penalty appeal rejected.

    Southampton remained in control, though, and Adam Armstrong scored a second with a shot through Furlong's legs and past Alex Palmer.

    Armstrong's second goal arrived from the penalty spot in the 86th minute after Tom Fellows fouled Ryan Manning in the box, rendering Cedric Kipre's late header a mere consolation.

  • Marc Skinner signs Manchester United Women contract extension Marc Skinner signs Manchester United Women contract extension

    Marc Skinner has signed a one-year contract extension as Manchester United Women head coach with the option of a further 12 months.

    The 41-year-old guided United to their first major silverware last weekend with victory over Tottenham in the Women's FA Cup final.

    United are fifth in the Women's Super League with one game to go - a massive drop on last term's runners-up finish - but Skinner will stay on.

    "It's an honour to extend my stay at Manchester United," Skinner, who was appointed in 2021, told United's official website after the news was confirmed on Friday. 

    "I've always felt at home here, with our excellent players, staff, and fans.

    "Being able to secure the team's first major trophy at Wembley was a real career highlight for me and another sign of our continued growth, on and off the field."

    United conclude their campaign on Saturday against Chelsea, who lead Manchester City on goal difference entering the final day.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.