Antonio Conte is set to return to Tottenham Hotspur after gallbladder surgery, but it won’t be until after Saturday’s match at Wolves. Cristian Stellini held the prematch press conference this morning and stated that the medical staff at Spurs approved Conte to return to duty on Sunday, one month and a day after his gallbladder surgery.
“I said he would come back this week and straight after the match against Wolves he will be in London and will be in charge again from Sunday.
“This is a question for the medical department because they decide the time schedule was one month. One month after the surgery stops on Saturday and they ask Antonio to come back on Sunday so this is a question for the medical department.”
Stellini said that Tottenham do not have any further injuries or issues within their squad and are as healthy as they can be heading into Saturday’s league fixture. That includes Player of the Month candidate Emerson Royal, who was held out of Wednesday’s FA Cup loss at Sheffield United as a precaution. When asked if Emerson was available, Stellini affirmed with a simple “Yes.”
Stellini gave a lot of respect to Wolves, especially under manager Julen Lopetegui, who replaced Bruno Lage in December. Wolves are on a streak of three matches without a win, but defeated Liverpool at home in November.
“Lopetegui is an important manager. They select a good manger and since Lopetegui is in charge of Wolverhampton, I think they are improving a lot. They are doing something different because the mentality of Lopetegui is a bit different if you compare to the last manager. We expect a difficult game but with a good approach we think we can do a good game tomorrow and challenge them in the right way like we did in the last two (league) games.”
After another season (likely) without a trophy, Stellini was asked, as is typical of any person in charge of a Tottenham Hotspur squad, about Spurs’ 14 year trophy drought and whether the season can be viewed as a “success” without silverware.
“Everyone wants this, only the fans can expect every year, only the fans need to be happy with the team and the way the team plays, but we have to show on the pitch, this is our job, this is the difference between us and the fans.
“We have to react immediately because that game was not good enough and we don’t want to be like this again and we don’t want to show this to the fans again. We have to create a good mentality, when we speak sometimes, I sometimes feel we speak too much about a trophy and less about the mentality. We have to work on this aspect every day and fight against ourselves, because when you approach a game like this you have to fight against you if you think the game will be easy in the FA Cup if you play away. Eight teams play in the quarter-finals and four are not in the Premier League, so it’s not only us.”