Clement Lenglet: Without the ball, Tottenham are the best. We have to get better with it’ | Tottenham Hotspur

aIt can be considered an ordeal, two are like neglect and what about the four? It was March 2021 and Clement Lenglet had just received another penalty for Barcelona, ​​this penalty in the Champions League round of 16, exiting the second leg against Paris Saint-Germain, the team he supported as a boy.

It was a harsh decision, picked by the VAR, after Lenglet grabbed Mauro Icardi, although the PSG forward did not come close to a low cross from the left. It seems to sum up how Lenglet’s luck has turned, along with Barcelona’s. The central defender, on loan for a full season at Spurs, has been all about low reliability since arriving at the Camp Nou from Seville in 2018 for €35m, a player you haven’t always noticed and in favor of the right. reasons.

Everyone was noticing him now and not in a good way. It was Lenglet’s fourth penalty kick that season, after those against Real Madrid and Cadiz in La Liga and Juventus in the Champions League group stage. All four have been converted, the ones being converted against Real Madrid and Cadiz are particularly costly. In the clasicoThe score was 1-1 when Lenglet pulled the jersey of Sergio Ramos. Real will run out 3-1 winners. Against Cadiz, Lenglet clumsily came in on Ruben Sobrino in the 89th minute to equalize.

No player in any of Europe’s top five leagues has missed more than four penalties this season and the Frenchman has felt the pressure build, scrutinizing every foul he made hard. Obviously to say Barcelona is not an easy club to play for, even though Lenglet had credit in the bank.

The 15-match France international won the league title in his first season and regularly played with confidence. The clean style that marked him as the next big thing in Nancy and Seville is on top. Lenglet led Nancy to promotion from Ligue 2 when she was 20 years old, and she often wore the captain’s armband. While in Seville, there was a coming-of-age performance in Round of 16 of the Champions League, winning the second leg against Manchester United In 2018, he stood tall in a physical duel with Romelu Lukaku.

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos was fouled by Clement Lenglet
Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos was fouled by Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet, which led to a penalty kick. Photograph: Albert Jia/Reuters

“When you are in this kind of club [Barcelona]”You know you have a lot of stress every day,” Lenglet says. “You have to accept it. Here at Tottenham we put ourselves under pressure because we want to grow and the media is putting more pressure because they see we can be a really good team. It’s not really different from Barcelona. Of course, in Barcelona, ​​every day you have something different. But I didn’t leave Barcelona for that reason.”

Lenglet left Camp Nou because of what happened last season, or more precisely what didn’t happen. The 27-year-old has started just seven league games – a significant drop from his previous three seasons at the club where he was in the first 11 times 29, 28 and 22 times respectively. Barcelona’s financial difficulties have been well documented and with coach Xavi not counting on him, Lenglet’s €12m salary likely made him more expendable. The Spanish press said that Tottenham would contribute seven million euros of his annual wages.

The player talks about his desire to accept a new challenge in a different country. Language was one of the tests. “I wasn’t speaking English when I came…a few words,” he says. He has made impressive strides in this regard. He speaks of the attractiveness of working under Antonio Conte, as well as the quality of Tottenham’s facilities. But, really, what Lenglet sought when he came to Tottenham was an opportunity to play, to restart his career.

Given his class and pedigree, it was surprising that Inglet has made only six appearances so far – three in the Premier League and three in the Champions League. Conte alternated it with Ben Davies on the left of his back three, although he largely preferred the Welshman. But Lenglet is hoping to make an appearance in Sunday’s home game with Newcastle, and he surely made a little mistake when he played.

Clement Lenglet on the ball against Marseille
Three of the six matches Clement Lenglet has played so far this season have come in the Champions League, including the home game against Marseille. Photography: Joe Toth/Shutterstock

Tottenham beat well at Manchester United On Wednesday, after being outdone in Defeat at Arsenal earlier this month. Conte also said that Chelsea “dominated” in their other big league game this season They managed to tie 2-2 In that August match, Lenglet’s analysis chimes with that of many fans.

“When you’re on the field, you have to take risks, to increase your level with the ball,” he says. “Without the ball, we are the best team in terms of effort. We run a lot, we are aggressive, we help our teammates. But we have to improve.” [with the ball].

“It is important to say that we did the best [Premier League] Let’s start with the history of Tottenham. But we’ve lost points to three big teams and we’re fighting against that kind of team. This is the next step.”

Lenglet didn’t want to look too far ahead. He could have a place in France’s World Cup squad away from him, his previous start against Switzerland came in a penalty shootout in the Euro 2020 round of 16. He was substituted at half-time, having been wrong on the first goal and has not been called up since last November. He says he does not know if he will stay at Tottenham after his loan spell.

“It was a great experience in Barcelona and it’s not over yet because I have a contract until 2026,” says Lenglet. “We don’t have a choice [to extend at Spurs]. We have to wait before thinking about this. I have to be good on the field to help the team. Maybe if everything is fine, we’ll talk but it’s early.”

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