Antonio Conte awaits medical advice with Stellini on duty to lead Spurs

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<p><figcaption class=Photography: Zac Goodwin/PA

Antonio Conte will find out on Saturday if he has been approved to attend Tottenham’s game against Manchester City while he recovers from surgery to remove his gallbladder.

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

The training has been supervised by Stellini and he will choose the team together with Conte. Stellini spoke about the problems raised for a week that he admitted that he was unlike any other in his career. “We are upset,” he said. “It was Antonio who called me and explained the situation to me. Last week he had a problem that we thought was the flu, not a problem like this. When he discovered this, it was a surprise and he was very sad, but we have to go ahead and work.

“We had time to talk with Antonio before surgery about how to prepare for the [City] match. Then we lost him for 12 hours, the time for him to be operated on. The surgery was not difficult and it is important that he recovers well, this is the most important thing”.

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

“Your [been] a different week because Antonio has a big fire, and all the staff have to do their best to try to transfer the right things to the players,” he said. But maybe it’s easier [to adapt] this week because we have a great beast to challenge and it is normal for the players to be so focused on tackling these types of matches”.

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

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