Tottenham defenders Micky van de Ven and Destiny Udogie hailed “leader” Cristian Romero after they combined to extend Ange Postecoglou’s unbeaten start at the club with a 1-0 win at Luton.
Spurs created a plethora of chances early on at Kenilworth Road, but Yves Bissouma received two yellow cards in quick succession in the first half to alter the course of Saturday’s game.
While Van de Ven put Tottenham ahead in the 52nd-minute, Luton made the most of their numerical advantage to pile the pressure on, but vice-captain Romero in particular shone with 12 clearances and five aerial duals won during a colossal display over the 90 minutes.
“Amazing player, unbelievable player,” centre-back Van de Ven said of Romero to SpursPlay.
“Defensively so strong, with the ball so strong, keeps talking, for me an amazing player.
“We had to concentrate for the full 90 minutes. We had to keep pushing, keep commanding and holding a strong line. We help each other and have each others back.
“Everyone keeps talking the whole time and most of the time no one is losing concentration, but everyone is keeping each other awake and you saw we defended really well to keep the clean sheet.”
Left-back Udogie echoed those sentiments, saying: “I think Cuti (Romero) is a real leader.
“You can’t feel more safe (than) with Cuti and he shows this every day in training, in the game and he helps us a lot.
“As you saw it was really tough and with a man less it was more tough but this is the spirit of our squad. We keep working hard for each other and the result come.”
On his maiden Italy call-up, Udogie added: “It is a big dream for me you know. As a young kid I was always dreaming for this moment.
“Now it has come and I have to just stay focused, enjoy the time, work hard for the team and give my best.”
Spurs have won six of their eight Premier League matches under Postecoglou, which makes this the club’s best start to a top-flight season since the 1960-61 double-winning campaign.
The goals have flowed, but the Australian has added a steel to a previously frail defensive unit and this shut-out was Tottenham’s third with new first-choice goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario.
Postecoglou said: “They’ve been great all year, both the centre-backs, the whole back four and Vic.
“I think a big part of that is Romero because when you look at it, it’s Destiny’s first year in the Premier League, Micky’s first year, Vic’s first year and (Pedro) Porro is just beginning his Premier League career, but they’ve got a World Cup winner beside them.
“I think Cuti makes them feel like they belong. They feel really comfortable having him beside them and you can see them flourish.
“His passing range, ability to really position himself well, to stay calm and then just ridiculous bravery to always put his body in there. He’s just an outstanding defender.”
Lionel Messi recently labelled Argentina team-mate Romero as the best defender in the world.
“He’s a good judge,” Postecoglou smiled.
Meanwhile, newly-promoted Luton were left to rue missed chances after suffering a sixth defeat, but could soon call upon the services of free agent Andros Townsend after he played for their under-21s on Friday.
“We will see,” Hatters boss Rob Edwards said. “It has to be right for him. We will have a look and see how it goes.
“He played on Friday night the full game.”