Fresh Spurs setback as Conte to remain in Italy

Tottenham face a further spell without Antonio Conte after the club announced their head coach will remain at his family home in Italy while recovering from gallbladder surgery.

The 53-year-old underwent an operation earlier this month and missed Spurs’ 1-0 win over Manchester City, a match which saw Harry Kane break Tottenham’s all-time goalscoring record.

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Conte then returned for defeats at Leicester City last weekend and AC Milan on Wednesday but Tottenham released a statement on Thursday stating he would now take some further time away from management.

“Following a routine post-operation check in Italy yesterday [Wednesday], Antonio Conte will remain at his family home to further and fully recover from his recent gallbladder surgery,” Spurs said in a statement.

“Health is the most important consideration and everyone at the Club wishes him well. [Assistant coach] Cristian Stellini will assume first-team responsibility.”

No timescale has been set for Conte’s return. Tottenham host West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday and then have a clear week before hosting Conte’s former club Chelsea seven days later.

Conte’s decision to convalesce away from Spurs comes amid ongoing speculation over his future given his existing contract expires at the end of the season. Tottenham have an option to extend by a further season but Conte has previously refused to publicly commit to staying on with any decision likely to depend on results.

Spurs, who are fifth in the Premier League table, will be hopeful of overturning their Champions League round-of-16 first-leg deficit against Milan when the teams meet again in London next month.

But the club’s injury problems are mounting with Rodrigo Bentancur ruled out for the rest of the season following surgery on his left knee, while Yves Bissouma has suffered a stress fracture in his left ankle and first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is sidelined for several weeks with a knee problem.

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