Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has revealed that Dejan Kulusevski will miss Saturday’s Premier League clash with Everton.
The Sweden international came back from the Nations League with a hamstring injury and has subsequently been absent from the Lilywhites’ last four games in all tournaments.
Kulusevski was pictured in training with the group before Wednesday’s 3-1 Champions League win over Eintracht Frankfurt, but he was only able to complete a portion of the session.
As a result, the Juventus loanee sat out the tie with the Europa League holders, but he was expected to come back into contention for the visit of Frank Lampard‘s side on Saturday evening.
However, Conte has now conceded that Kulusevski is still not ready to make his competitive comeback, and he was unable to guarantee that the 22-year-old would be ready for the clash with Manchester United on Wednesday either.
“We are the same players of the last game. Deki is still not available for the game against Everton. The rest of the players are ok,” football.london quotes Conte as saying in his pre-game press conference.
“I think we need to have a bit of patience with [Kulusevski]. Don’t take stupid risks. We have to play a lot of games from now until November. At this moment he’s not 100% sure to be really fit and in perfect condition. It’s important to respect the opinion of the doctors on the player.”
When asked about Kulusevski’s chances of being fit for next week’s meeting with Man United, Conte responded: “In this moment honestly it’s a bit difficult to answer yes or no [if he will be fit to face Man United].
“It depends on the new MRI he did today and about the work the doctors say about his situation. Also the feeling of the player. I was a player and in this situation it’s important to respect the feeling of the player and that he feels OK 100%. Otherwise it’s not good to take stupid risks.”
Tottenham have no other injury concerns for the visit of Everton, but Emerson Royal will serve the second of a three-game ban after his straight red card in the North London derby defeat to Arsenal.
Matt Doherty was given the nod at right-wing back when Tottenham overcame Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 last weekend, as Conte left Djed Spence on the bench once again.
Twenty-two-year-old Spence has only played one minute of football for Tottenham since joining from Middlesbrough in the summer, but Conte has affirmed that he is seeing signs of progress with the youngster.
“We played without Emerson at Brighton and I was really pleased with Matthew. He’s struggled this guy to come back to a good level. Last season he struggled but then he became a really important player for us,” Conte added.
“Also Djed, he’s working and he’s improving and he’s starting to understand which is the demand to stay at Tottenham. I’m pleased to have more options.”
Tottenham occupy third place in the table heading into gameweek 10 and can temporarily move level on points with second-placed Manchester City with victory in Saturday’s contest.