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TEAM NEWS: Bentancur, Lucas back for Everton on Monday

But Oliver Skipp and Japhet Tanganga remain out.

Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Lolo is back! Antonio Conte announced at today’s press conference ahead of Monday’s match vs. Everton that injured midfielders Rodrigo Bentancur and Lucas Moura have recovered from their recent injuries and are both available for selection for Monday’s match against Everton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Boy would that be welcome news! Tottenham’s best period of play since the start of 2022 has been when Bentancur has been in the starting lineup. Spurs have struggled when forced to play the midfield pairing of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Harry Winks. If Lolo is ready to go-go, I would imagine he’ll slot right back into the starting XI alongside Hojbjerg.

Having Lucas back is also good news if only so that Spurs have a dangerous option to bring in off the bench late in matches. Lucas’ performances have divided opinion lately (to put it mildly) but if there’s one thing we know it’s that he has the ability to change games when he’s in. Throwing Lucas on to run against tired defenders late is a very useful option.

However, the bad news continues for Japhet Tanganga and Oliver Skipp. Both remain out with long-term injuries that have kept them on the sidelines for a couple of months. Skipp’s injury has been described as a “groin issue” which frankly sounds like a sports hernia. Those can be pernicious and difficult to heal; sometimes all you can do is wait for them to get better on their own.

But Conte doesn’t like that either, and had some choice words directed at his own medical department.

“It’s a pity. I think in England that sometimes you should have a conference with the medical department. It’s too easy for the doctors to work here. They don’t speak and they don’t explain. It could be good one day and then in two weeks to have a press conference with the medical department to explain about this situation with the players, about the situation that they are trying to take care of the players. It’s too easy for the medical department.”

Frankly, I don’t like this statement from Conte. Mourinho used to direct barbs at Spurs’ medical team too and I didn’t like it then either. Obviously, few managers are happy when important players are kept out by the decisions of medical personnel, but I find it particularly churlish when a manager seems to blame the doctors for making decisions that benefit players’ health. Injuries happen, and they suck, but I certainly trust capable medical professionals to make decisions about player health than I do managers.

Tottenham host Everton on Monday afternoon, with kick-off time at 3:00 p.m. ET (8:00 p.m. UK)