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Kulusevski the man to Spur on Ange's men during injury crisis
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Mitchell Fretton
Dejan Kulusevski netted Tottenham's equaliser against Manchester City
Dejan Kulusevski netted Tottenham's equaliser against Manchester City

Tottenham have been hit with a serious injury crisis in recent weeks and are relying on their remaining stars to steer them through a tough Christmas period.

Dejan Kulusevski was the man to steal the headlines in Sunday's entertaining 3-3 draw with Manchester City and the Swedish international is well and truly flourishing under Ange Postecoglou.

As Spurs prepare for a London derby against West Ham on Thursday, we take a look at how the 23-year-old has stepped up in the absence of James Maddison.

Suiting the style

Kulusevski arrived in North London at the request of Antonio Conte, but his role under the Italian could not be more different to how he is used by Postecoglou.

Having initially arrived on an 18-month loan deal, the former Juventus attacker impressed Spurs fans, tallying 13 goal contributions in 18 Premier League matches during the 2021-22 campaign.

Although he was proving to be prolific in front of goal, Kulusevski looked to be playing with the brakes on and was often asked to track back and defend in Conte's robust system.

Under the tutelage of Postecoglou, the 35-cap international now has the freedom to explore the final third and is involved in almost every Tottenham attack.

Kulusevski's willingness to put everything on the line until the very last second was vital against City and the winger is a perfect representation of the brand of football the former Celtic chief has brought to England.

Good times are coming

Dejan Kulusevski was a menace for Tottenham at the Etihad
Dejan Kulusevski was a menace for Tottenham at the Etihad

Spurs avoided a run of four top-flight defeats in a row away to the champions and once again showed positive signs despite fielding a makeshift defence.

Postecoglou has made it clear that he is working on a long-term plan for the club and Kulusevski recently echoed his manager's thoughts, urging fans to stay with them during the tough times.

He said: "I really hope [the fans] stay with us because we will win in the future if we continue like this.

"We proved we can play against anybody, without a lot of good players. We just have to grow a little bit mentally and we're going to be at the top. 

"That's the only thing missing. The football is there. The coach is there. We have everything at Tottenham.

"We've got to start winning now. We're proud of the performance [against City], but we have two home games now and have to get six points."

Switch it up

Kulusevski netted his fourth goal of the season against the Treble winners and has already doubled his tally from last term.

His new-found success can be put down to the new attacking system but also a new position that sees him drift into a more central role on occasion.

Only Bernardo Silva attempted more take-ons than the Swede in the six-goal thriller and nobody created more chances than Tottenham's No21.

With Maddison injured, Kulusevski has started as an attacking midfielder in the last two matches — a position the player relishes playing in.

He said: "I felt so good, I felt like the real Dejan. I felt like myself. The coach decided where to put me. I enjoyed it and I had real fun playing. 

"I've done it [played centrally] all my life, so it's nothing new to me. Physically I feel really good, so I'm happy and I know I'm on the right path."

Tottenham have not picked up a Premier League win since October but will fancy their chances against London rivals West Ham on Thursday.


Tottenham HotspurPremier LeagueDejan Kulusevski
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