Ange Postecoglou has suggested Pierre-Emile Højbjerg is the ready-made replacement for Yves Bissouma, as the Malian international is forced to sit on the sidelines at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

Tottenham Hotspur host Fulham on Monday night, aiming to continue their impressive start to the season. Spurs sit top of the table unbeaten after eight Premier League matches this season, despite many expecting the club to struggle after the sale of Harry Kane.

Instead, a new-born charisma is lurking around Hotspur Way, with the young and energetic squad thriving in the world's toughest league. 

Postcoglou suggested he has been pleased during the international break, with no major injuries sustained at Spurs, whilst adding that Bryan Gil will add a new dynamic to the ranks at Hotspur Way. 

  • 'It's been a positive international break'

Spurs have had a dream start to life under Postecoglou, yet that could have been quickly ended during the international break due to injuries. 

However, they have walked away from the two-week break with no new injury concerns, despite Cristian Romero and Heung-Min Son sustaining minor knocks whilst playing for their countries.

Postecoglou said: "It's been a positive international break for us. Everyone's kind of back and the medical reports seem to be good. No issues with the guys from a fitness perspective. We got a couple of debuts with Micky van de Ven and Destiny Udogie getting some runs in there. Lo Celso played for Argentina as well which was great.

"With Brennan Johnson, he's had a solid couple of weeks of training with the guys who stayed behind. In terms of it being a Monday night, it helps us, but all the international players will be available. We'll see how Johnson goes in the next couple of days."

The Australian later provided an update on Bentacur's fitness, stating: "He's fully training, so he's into the full session. We've got to be mindful that he's missed a fair bit of football. The more he trains with the first team in the next couple of weeks [the better], but he's looking good in training. We're looking forward to getting him back."

  • 'I'm honoured to receive Manager of the Month'

Spurs were heavily predicted to struggle this season, especially after losing Harry Kane the day before the season started. Losing one of the club's greatest players was expected to cause Spurs struggle, yet, under Postecoglou's leadership, the Lilywhites have risen back to the heights they were at under Mauricio Pochettino.

Postecoglou has been impressed by the start of the season, but he is continuing to insist that the performances are just as important as the results. 

"We've had a really encouraging start to the season; I'm honoured to receive Manager of the Month but that's representative of a large group of people. All the football department is working really hard to create a positive environment.

It's fair to say, apart from the results which have been pleasing, our level of performance has been impressive in every game. We've had some eventful games in that context, but that's given us a strong foundation of our character and the resilience of the group," he said.

"We're in a great position in the league; that's reflective of our performances so far. It doesn't change the way of what I'm trying to build here. It pains me to say, but we're still very much at the beginning. My main focus is continual improvement in this group because there are a lot of young players, a new leadership group and a new way of playing. All of these things are at the start. Whatever start we've had doesn't change the fact we're still at the beginning."

  • Højbjerg is a 'ready-made replacement' for Bissouma

Bissouma was sent off at the end of the second half against Luton after a cynical dive on the edge of the box. It was the former Brighton midfielder's first red card in N17, leaving Spurs without one of their players against Fulham.

Postecoglou admitted managers are always thinking about replacement for players, stating Højbjerg is likely to start his first game of the season. 

"That's a constant thought in every manager's head. You're realistic enough to know you're not going to run the same sort of eleven throughout the season. Every week you wrestle with what lineup is going to be best for you.  You're looking at everything: the fitness and form of the players, the way they're training and the opposition," he said.

"With Bissouma missing out on this game, we had to adjust without him in the second half against Luton, which I think we did really well with ten men. But we've got options in midfield, especially with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who is a ready-made replacement for him.

"He's been training really hard and obviously wanted to play more because he's been a constant over the last three years in the midfield spot, but when has come on for us he's done really well for us. For me, he's the logical one to come in, but we've got a couple of sessions to go."

Postecoglou later added: "I don't think there was any time during the transfer window where I thought he [Højberg] was going to move [despite links to Fulham]. Discussions I had with him here were that he wanted to contribute and be part of what we are building. It's obvious someone who was playing regularly would have wanted to play more. Ultimately, our performances have been strong and he's had to bide his time.

"In a lot of our games, we've won late or had to sure up late, and he's one of the people who's helped us do that. He's been a really important part [of the squad]. We wouldn't be in this position if we were just reliant on players in the starting eleven. It's fair to say if the games finished in the 80th minute, we wouldn't be in top spot."

Bryan Gil has missed the start of the season for Spurs after sustaining a groin injury during pre-season. The dynamic Spanish winger has struggled to make an impact in North London since joining in 2021, despite being billed as one of the best youngsters in Europe.

However, Postecoglou believes he could make an impact at Spurs, especially with the club running light on options at left wing.

The Australian stated: "He could be really important for us. Last couple of weeks it's been great to have him working really hard in training. He's missed all of this season so far; it's well chronicled that we lost Ivan Perisic and Manor Solomon on the left side, so when we're in a position where Bryan is fit and available for us then that's great for us. At some point, he'll be afforded the opportunity; he has all the characteristics to play in that position."

Postecoglou later provided an update on Giovani Lo Celso's importance at the club, after the Argentinian featured twice for his country during the international break.

"The pleasing thing is he's [Lo Celso] very highly regarded in the Argentinian setup. They always call him up and he played in both games. It's great for him and his confidence. Unfortunately, he's had a disrupted start to the season. Another player that we haven't really had a contribution from, which I guess in a way that's a good thing for us. 

"As good as we've been, there are still a few players missing: Johnson, Bentancur, Gil and Lo Celso haven't really played at all for us. Just in terms of training, they've raised the level. When there's competitiveness around the squad, that guards complacency and makes anyone not feel too comfortable," he said.