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Tottenham Hotspur without Dejan Kulusevski for Eintracht Frankfurt clash

Tottenham Hotspur without Dejan Kulusevski for Eintracht Frankfurt clash

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has confirmed that Dejan Kulusevski will be absent for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Juventus loanee returned from Sweden’s September Nations League fixtures with a hamstring problem and subsequently missed the weekend’s North London derby defeat to Arsenal.

Richarlison, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min started as Spurs’ front three at the Emirates, and Bryan Gil was the only attacking option at Conte’s disposal on the bench.

It is likely to be a similar story for the Lilywhites at the Deutsche Bank Park, as Conte has confirmed that both Kulusevski and Lucas Moura will miss out, although Ben Davies is back from a knee problem.

“No new injuries. We have recovered Ben Davies. He will be on the bench. Only this news. Kulusevski is still out. Moura is out,” quotes Conte as saying in his press conference.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte on October 1, 2022© Reuters

The Spurs boss further conceded that he was unsure of Kulusevski’s recovery timeframe, adding: “About Kulusevski, honestly I don’t know, the timing to recover. I hope to recover quickly but I don’t know for the next game or for the home game against Frankfurt I don’t know.”

Tottenham’s attacking injuries have led to calls from fans to trial a 3-5-2 system, with Yves Bissouma introduced into the midfield to start alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur.

Conte has affirmed that such a formation could be an option, but he also “trusts” Gil, who is yet to enjoy a breakthrough campaign in North London, saying: “With this type of players and this squad we can play with these two systems, 3-4-3 and a 3-5-2.

“Also Bissouma who is a good player who can play with the two midfielders and the two strikers can be Sonny and Kane or Richarlison and Kane.

“Bryan Gil is in the squad and for sure he is the first option for our attack because Kulusevski and Moura is out. We are talking about a young player, we wanted to see him on loan to Valencia but for many circumstances the situation has changed. I trust him.”

Tottenham will be able to call upon Emerson Royal for the trip to Frankfurt, but the Brazilian will then serve a three-game domestic ban after a foul on Gabriel Martinelli warranted a straight red card in the North London derby.

Tottenham Hotspur's Emerson Royal fouls Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli on October 1, 2022© Reuters

The 23-year-old’s absence leaves Matt Doherty and Djed Spence to battle it out for the right-wing back spot, and the latter has only played a single minute for the club since his arrival from Middlesbrough.

Amid pressure from supporters to hand Spence more game time, Conte firmly responded that he is the one who witnesses the players in training every day and that “fans have to be fans” when it comes to team selection.

“The fans have to be fans. The fans is the fans, I understand they can think everything but I see every day what happens during the training session,” Conte explained. “I try to do the best for the team. If they trust me, then they trust me, but the choices are mine. If I didn’t decide to pick one player it’s maybe because he’s not ready.

“We are talking about a young player with a good prospect, but I repeat I try to pick the best team. Also Doherty last season played every game. Now I’m not seeing him in the right way to start the game.

“I’m not stupid, I don’t want to lose. I try to put the best team, to pick the best team. If they trust me it’s OK, if they don’t trust me then I’m the coach and I need to take the best decision for Tottenham.”

Conte’s side go into Tuesday’s game with the Europa League champions sitting second in Group E – above Die Adler on goal difference after beating Marseille and losing to Sporting Lisbon in their opening two matches.

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