Dejan Kulusevski has spoken of his relief after returning from a hamstring injury in Tottenham’s 2-1 loss to Liverpool on Sunday, insisting his recovery has not been easy.
The Juventus loanee, who is certain to join Spurs permanently until next summer, has been out of action since September after sustaining a hamstring injury on international duty with Sweden.
Kulusevski came off the bench for the final 25 minutes of Tottenham’s loss to Liverpool, though he did secure an assist for Harry Kane just over a minute after coming onto the pitch.
After the match, Kulusevski said he was happy to be able to play again, but hinted that the setback he suffered in the midst of his recovery might have been his fault.
“I missed him a lot. Now I can sleep. At least I can be happy to be back because I like to play and I like to play for this club. Bad result but I’m finally back”, he said.
Asked if he had sleepless nights, Kulusevski replied: “Yes. It’s hard at this age, especially for me, as it’s so hard for me to accept that I’m hurt because you always think you’re a machine. It’s always hard, but you just have to accept it and do the little things.
“Was small [injury problem] and then you say, ‘Okay, maybe we can speed it up a little bit and try to speed it up,’ and then he responds to you. I definitely have to learn, I have a lot to learn, but I am enjoying the experience.”
Kulusevski’s absence coincided with Spurs’ poor form in recent months, as Antonio Conte’s side struggled to start games and failed to match their highs from last season for free goals.
The 22-year-old received a loud standing ovation when he first came out for a warm-up before being introduced to Ryan Sessegnon and discussing their mutual love of Tottenham fans.
“I love the club, I love the stadium, I love the fans. I am so happy that we still have a lot of time this season and I want to bring a lot of joy,” he said.
“The second half was good, the second half was very good. The problem is that we have to play like this for 90 minutes. That is the difference. If we start playing like this for 90 minutes, we’ll win most of the games, then us.” I need to improve, especially in the first half.”