Richarlison’s debut season at Tottenham has not been a good one by his own admission and it continued in that vein against Southampton.
The Brazil international, who still hasn’t scored a league goal for Spurs this season, was forced off at St Mary’s in tears with an injury just four minutes into proceedings.
He’s now at risk of missing some crucial matches in the club’s fight for a spot in the top four and next season’s Champions League.
Richarlison was handed a place in the starting XI against Southampton after impressing in the previous game against Nottingham Forest, in which he got an assist and won a penalty.
He never got the chance to show what he could against the side sitting bottom of the Premier League as a muscle injury forced him off after just four minutes.
The 25-year-old pulled up in pain during the warm-up for the match but started nonetheless. The issue reappeared immediately after kick off, forcing Antonio Conte to replace him with Dejan Kulusevski.
The forward was in tears as he came off, leading people to worry the injury was a serious one. While the severity has yet to be revealed, Richarlison has pulled out of the Brazil squad for their friendly with Morocco, confirming he won’t be fit within a week or so.
The injury comes at as good a time as any for Spurs with the international break meaning they won’t be playing for over two weeks.
If Richarlison doesn’t recover during that break, he’ll miss their match against Everton at Goodison Park and may not be risked if he is fit again given the importance of the games that follows.
Five days after the Everton game, Spurs face Brighton in a match that could have a huge impact on who takes the final Champions League qualification spot, with both aiming to finish in the top four.
Tottenham have a less busy schedule than most top clubs as they’ve already been knocked out of every cup competition and are thus only fighting on one front.
They still have some huge matches coming up as they host Bournemouth after the Brighton game and then play top-four rivals Newcastle, Manchester United and Liverpool in the space of a week.
Those games, taking place between April 23 and April 30, could well decide which European competition Spurs play in next season.