Antonio Conte Confident of Fully Fit Squad for North London Derby

Tottenham Hotspur manager Conte expresses hope of recovering injured players in time for match against Arsenal on January 15

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has expressed his confidence in having “all” of his players available for their upcoming North London derby with Arsenal. The Lilywhites have been ravaged by attacking injuries in recent weeks, with Dejan Kulusevski, Richarlison and Lucas Moura currently sidelined alongside midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur.

None of the quartet was available for the trip to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace on Wednesday night, nor was the suspended Yves Bissouma, as Tottenham sought to bounce back from their 2-0 loss to Aston Villa on New Year’s Day.

Despite their distinct lack of attacking options on the bench, Conte’s side marched to a resounding 4-0 win thanks to Harry Kane’s brace alongside strikes from Matt Doherty and Son Heung-min.

Spurs’ next Premier League clash sees them welcome Arsenal to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15, and Conte is hopeful that he could be working with a fully-fit squad for the contest.

“My hope is to recover players who are in this moment injured, because we are talking about important players. I hope in these 10 days to have the possibility in the next game against Arsenal to have all of the players available,” Conte told the press after beating Palace.

With several senior players out injured, Bryan Gil and Pape Sarr stepped up to the plate for Tottenham at Selhurst Park, with the former setting up Kane’s goal on the night. Sarr replaced Oliver Skipp with 24 minutes remaining and also earned plaudits for his performance in the middle of the park. Conte believes that his young crop will have a big part to play in the second half of the season and is therefore reluctant to send them out on loan again.

I’m talking about Richarlison, Bentancur, Kulusevski and also Bissouma today was out, but today Skipp and Sarr showed they they are really reliable players for me and I’m really happy,” Conte added. “We exploited the period of the World Cup to work with these young players to improve themselves under the tactical aspect and physical aspect. Now they stay with us in the squad. I don’t want to send these young players on loan because the league is very difficult. We have to play Champions League, we have to play FA Cup. I think these young players can stay here to help us face these three competitions.

Elaborating on Gil – who made just his second Premier League start in place of Kulusevski – Conte once again brought up the comparison with Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, explaining:

It was really important, you know about Bryan Gil we are talking about a player who was born to play football. He understands football quickly. He’s so clever, so intelligent to understand the situation. Then you know this league is difficult, because you have to be good in quality and be fast and to have good endurance and he has this type of quality. I compared him to Bernardo Silva, at Manchester City, because in my opinion they are really, really similar. He has to continue to work really strongly on the physical aspect because I repeat we are talking about a player with great quality.

Goals for Kane and Son saw the duo break a pair of Premier League records on Wednesday, with the former now boasting 198 goals from 300 Premier League games – two more than Alan Shearer after his first 300 outings in the top flight.

Conte’s men remain fifth in the table but have cut the gap to fourth-placed Manchester United – who have a game in hand – to two points, and they now prepare to host Portsmouth in Saturday’s FA Cup third-

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