Antonio Conte waits on medical advice with Cristian on call to lead Spurs

  • Manager recovering in Italy after gallbladder surgery
  • Tottenham face Manchester City at home on Sunday

Antonio Conte will learn on Saturday whether he has been passed fit to attend Tottenham’s match against Manchester City as he recovers from surgery to remove his gallbladder.

Conte is recuperating in Italy after Wednesday’s operation. He will take medical advice on whether he is able to be at Sunday’s game and in what capacity, with full involvement on the touchline highly unlikely even if he is cleared to travel. His assistant, Cristian Stellini, would manage the team in his absence.

Training has been overseen by Stellini and he will pick the team in conjunction with Conte. Stellini spoke about the problems posed by a week he said was unlike any other in his career. “We are upset,” he said. “It was Antonio who called me and explained the situation. Last week he had a problem that we thought was flu, not a problem like this. When he discovered this, it was a surprise and he was so sad, but we have to keep going and work.

“We had time to speak to Antonio before the surgery about the way to prepare for the [City] game. Then we lost him for 12 hours, the time for him to have the surgery. The surgery was not difficult and it’s important he recovers well – this is the most important thing.”

Spurs gave up a 2-0 lead at the Etihad only 15 days ago, losing 4-2. But they have won all four meetings with City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium without conceding a goal and Stellini felt the absence of Conte’s dynamism this week was offset by the squad’s appetite to repeat those feats.

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“It’s [been] a different week because Antonio has a big fire and all the staff have to push themselves to another level to try and transfer the right things to the players,” he said. “But maybe it’s easier [to adapt] this week because we have a big beast to challenge and it’s normal that the players are so focused approaching this type of match.”

Stellini, who took charge for November’s decisive Champions League win in Marseille when Conte was banned from the touchline, did not rule out an immediate start for Pedro Porro. The right wing-back, who was on City’s books for three years but spent most of that time out on loan, signed from Sporting on deadline day. Richarlison is available after missing the FA Cup win at Preston through injury and Lucas Moura, who returned to training this week, is close to a comeback.


Nick Ames

The GuardianTramp

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