Antonio Conte’s pre-match press conference ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s League Cup semifinal first leg match against Chelsea was pretty standard, but there were a few team news updates to share. For starters, it appears that Ryan Sessegnon and Steven Bergwijn will both miss Wednesday’s match at Stamford Bridge, though the good news is that Sess looks close to a full return. Conte suggested that Ryan could be in the frame to play during this weekend’s FA Cup match against Morecambe.
“Ryan Sessegnon’s situation is better than Steven Bergwijn’s. I think he’s almost ready to be available in the next game, in the FA Cup he’ll be available.
“For Steve, I think we have to pay a bit more attention because his problem was in the calf, where you have to pay more attention and wait a bit before we have him available again.”
That means that Sergio Reguilon will almost certainly continue his streak of matches at the left wingback position against Chelsea on Wednesday. A (hopefully) easy and routine match against League One side Morecambe does seem like a very good opportunity to get Sess back up to speed.
On a less positive note, Conte also announced that the club is currently dealing with two more COVID-positive rapid tests within the squad. Conte was pretty mum on details and wouldn’t specify who (if any) within the first team might be affected, but did suggest the club is waiting on the results of a PCR test before they make any final roster changes.
“We are checking a couple of situations about COVID – and we’ll see. We are checking a couple of situations about COVID.
“[We are waiting on PCR results] but we have to check and also during the day, if there are new positives or not, we’re checking a couple of situations. Then tomorrow we’ll see which players are available to play against Chelsea.”
We don’t know who the player(s) are and again possibly won’t due to the club’s policy of not discussing COVID test results publicly without the permission of the players involved, but it’s interesting that Dan Kilpatrick of the Standard did a predicted lineup for Wednesday’s match, and notably suggested that Joe Rodon could start in place of Eric Dier in an otherwise first choice lineup.
Now look, I’m not saying that Dan knows anything at all, but it is curious that a notable Tottenham beat writer would choose Rodon to hypothetically start in this match ahead of Dier after Joe’s been all but banished to the hinterlands by Conte since he joined the club. All the thinky-face emojis.
This match will be the first time Conte has returned to Stamford Bridge since he left Chelsea, and while he downplayed the occasion, he did say he was looking forward to catching up a little with the people he knows from his time there.
“For me, for sure it’ll be great to come back to Stamford Bridge. It’s the first time after I left Chelsea as manager to come back to Stamford Bridge. I spent two amazing seasons, I created a lot of friendships at the club, we did a really important, good job and I enjoyed working there.
“Also because I have to thank Chelsea because they gave me the possibility to work in England and have my first experiences in England. Now, for sure, I’m the manager of Tottenham and I want to give this club 100 per cent and more to try to improve the team. It’ll be good and for sure I’ll have emotion to come back to Stamford Bridge.”
The match kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET / 7:45 p.m. UK on Wednesday, and will be televised on Sky Sports. The match will be streamed on ESPN+ in the United States.