Ange Postecoglou has warned Tottenham defender Cristian Romero that his tackles will be under the spotlight for the rest of the season.
Romero only returned from a three-match ban for his red card against Chelsea earlier this month but faced criticism on Sunday for a poor challenge on Callum Wilson towards the end of Spurs’ 4-1 win over Newcastle.
VAR did review the incident, which stayed as a caution, but if Romero had been sent off, he would have faced a four-match suspension and that would have further depleted a Tottenham team already without eight first-team players for Friday’s trip to Nottingham Forest.
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Postecoglou said: “It’s fair to say the spotlight will be on him for the rest of the year.
“Any challenge he does, whether it’s something that’s pretty clear like the Chelsea game or last week, which I thought was as much clumsy as anything else.
“He knows that, he understands that. He’s just got to make the adjustments that he needs to do during the game, but I don’t think it’s a subject for long chats.
“It’s pretty evident the impact he has on us when he’s playing and when he’s not and we much prefer to have him out there.”
Spurs failed to win any of the matches which Romero missed through suspension and his ban coincided with fellow defender Micky van de Ven being sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Van de Ven will not play again until January and, while Postecoglou is pleased with the partnership struck up between Romero and Ben Davies, a left-back by trade, he is keen to bring in another centre-back in January.
“As a team I thought we were a lot more organised with our press (against Newcastle),” Postecoglou added.
“Romero makes a big difference to that but I thought Ben Davies was outstanding as well last week. He’s getting a run of games now but we’ve always got to be mindful he is not a centre-back.
“We’ve been very fortunate that Ben’s been able to fill in for us there. He’s really good at taking in information, he really understands the game, not just his own role but how we want to play and that’s helped him.
“Having Romeo next to him helps in that sense and Vic (Guglielmo Vicario) because he’s taken a bit of a leadership role back there as well.
“Ultimately, we still need to sign another centre-back because at the moment we are a little bit on tenterhooks because if something happens again we are short and we are already short.”
Postecoglou revealed Giovani Lo Celso would miss the clash at Forest with a niggle picked up in training this week.