Soccer-Conte hopeful of being on Spurs bench after COVID diagnosis

  • Football
  • Thursday, 14 Apr 2022

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur - Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain - April 9, 2022 Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte reacts Action Images via Reuters/Molly Darlington

LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur coach Antonio Conte is optimistic about being able to manage his team from the touchline after testing positive for COVID-19 when they host Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.

Spurs said on Wednesday that Conte tested positive for COVID-19 at the weekend and had been "appropriately distancing", with the Italian saying he attended the squad's training session "from a distance.

"I had my staff, they did a really good job after the game against Aston Villa (4-0 away win) and the day after I started to feel a bit of mild symptoms, a bit of pain in my throat," Conte told reporters on Thursday.

"I asked to have a COVID test and it was positive, but now I'm fine. I'm well and for sure this was a strange week for me and the players, they are used to having sessions with me, but it's OK because my staff are doing a great job.

"I think on Saturday I will be able to be with my players on the bench given the length of time from my COVID test."

Spurs have won their last four games and climbed to fourth in the standings with 57 points, three points ahead of north London rivals Arsenal who have a game in hand.

But they have been dealt an injury blow as Conte confirmed full back Matt Doherty is out for the rest of the season after sustaining a knee injury in the victory at Villa.

"I think the first visit with the doctor said he can recover without surgery," Conte said. "Seven to eight weeks before he recovers. For this reason, his season has finished.

"This is really bad news for us. We know very well the improvement in our team and it's a pity to lose a player like him for the rest of the season.

"Also (defender Japhet) Tanganga and (midfielder Oliver) Skipp are not available for us. Bad news for us on one hand, but on the other hand I think we have solutions to try and cope with the situation until the end of the season."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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