‘Just wishing each other a happy new year’: Ange in heated sideline spat during Spurs win

Ange Postecoglou was involved in a heated bust-up with Bournemouth’s coaching staff as Tottenham’s injury crisis deepened.

On New Year’s Eve, Pape Matar Sarr and Alejo Veliz, two Spurs players, joined James Maddison, Micky van de Ven, and Cristian Romero on the injury list, which also included Ivan Perisic and Manor Solomon. The players departed the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium field in tears.

With top scorer Son Heung-min having played his last game for at least four weeks, Spurs, who defeated the opposition 3-1 in the English Premier League, will also be without Yves Bissouma due to Africa Cup of Nations duty this month. Son, who scored his team’s second goal, is leaving this week to join the South Korean national team for the Asian Cup.

During stoppage time, Postecoglou became enraged as substitute Veliz abruptly stopped. An Argentine forward named 20, briefly attempted to play on before he, too, departed in tears.

While Veliz was getting treatment, there were heated comments exchanged across the touchline. Coach Shaun Cooper of Bournemouth was given a yellow card for his involvement in a push-and-pull incident that resulted in Rodrigo Bentancur of Tottenham being dragged away by Spurs coaches.

Referee Simon Hooper also warned Giovani Lo Celso of Tottenham and Postecoglou.

Postecoglou clarified, “We were just wishing each other a happy new year.”

The game had a small amount of emotion in it. Alejo was really hurting. We were attempting to get him to lay down so we could get him off because we had already completed our substitutions. It demonstrated the boy’s character—he wanted to carry on.

“I was more concerned about Alejo because, apart from me going on the field and physically dragging him off, he wasn’t going to go down.

“I think the Bournemouth staff thought we were trying to make a substitution but we had none.”

Bournemouth head coach Andoni Iraola made it clear his beef was with Tottenham not getting Veliz off the pitch quickly enough.

“If he is injured, he has to go to the bench,” he said. “He was injured for sure, otherwise he would continue to play and run … but just walk to the bench. It was normal to waste time in the game. We would have done the same.”

Veliz had to go off and Spurs hung on with 10 men to win, thanks to goals earlier from Pape Sarr, Son and Richarlison.

Bournemouth, who missed a host of chances while on top for large periods of the game, pulled one back through Alex Scott, who also had a header ruled out for offside in stoppage time.

Sarr, who scored the first, fears his place in Senegal’s Afcon squad is in jeopardy after suffering a hamstring injury. The midfielder, 21, covered his face with his hands and shirt to hide the tears as he left the field in the 32nd minute.

“It’s difficult to say,” Postecoglou remarked. He is obviously emotional because he wants to represent his country in this major tournament.

“He sustains this injury following his goal, which is kind of how our season has gone. Although I hope it’s not too terrible and he may still leave and assist his country, it’s upsetting for him.

Hugo Lloris, the goalie for Tottenham, bid the supporters farewell with passion at halftime after completing his transfer to Los Angeles FC of the MLS.

Although Postecoglou did not select the 37-year-old World Cup winner for a single match, he did recognize the influence of the former captain throughout an 11-year tenure.

“My services are fairly minuscule compared to his but in the time I’ve worked with him he’s been an absolute professional and an absolute gentlemen,” he said.


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