Tottenham v Liverpool: Injury news, Covid and what Antonio Conte wants to see from fringe players

Antonio Conte wants fringe players to seize the opportunity presented by the Covid-19 disruption.

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte says he will be on the lookout for fringe players who can stake their claim for regular playing time against Liverpool this weekend.

Spurs have had a torrid period, with Covid-19 wiping out almost half of the first team players ahead of their games against Rennes and Brighton Hove and Albion.

Sign up to our LondonWorld Today newsletter

The curve is now flattening in north London, and players are beginning to return to training but Conte says some fringe players who tested negative will get the chance to prove why they should be part of the first team.

Max Aarons of Norwich City challenges Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The Spurs boss said: “For sure it’s not the ideal moment, but some players can take advantage of the Covid situation to prove to me that they want to stay at Tottenham for a long time.

“The morale was very, very down, also because we prepared and had training sessions to play games.

“We prepared for all these games and in two weeks, three times we didn’t play.

“For sure, morale is down when this type of situation happens.

“For example yesterday, we were ready to play against Leicester.

“We were there and then before lunch they told us the game was postponed.

“Then lunch, another travel, when we arrived [back at Hotspur Way] another training session.

“It’s not easy. It’s also not easy to explain to the players and find the right energy when you’re prepared to play and the game is postponed.

“To come back, have another training session and today to prepare for another game vs Liverpool and you don’t know if you are able to play.

“It’s not simple, surely. If the morale is down, I think I can justify [that in] my players and the whole environment.

“But at the same time we’re ready to play on Sunday an important game against a really good, amazing team. With the difficulty we’re facing, we’re ready to play this game.”

Sergio Reguilon of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his teams second goal (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Back to fitness

The Tottenham manager also revealed, without mentioning any names, that three of the players who tested positive for Covid had returned to training.

And he said they might almost be back in time for the Liverpool game on Sunday.

“One of the players also returned to training today, and two others earlier in the week, but at this moment you have to be careful not to push everything or you risk injury,” Conte explained.

“When the players are back from Covid, for sure you have to pay great attention.

“You can’t give them the same amount of work as the other players. You have to pay attention.

“If you want everything very soon, you risk injuries. In this situation you have to take the risk and at the same time pay great attention.

“They need time to be fit. Also, before picking the starting eleven you have to take into consideration all of this.

“For instance, to start with one player and after 60 or 70 minutes change him with one player who had Covid.

“In this situation, it’s important to have patience and take the right risk.

“Every one of us would like to pick the best players, the best starting eleven, but at the same time you need to understand they need a bit of time to have good form, to be fit and not risk an injury. Otherwise it would be a disaster.”

Injury news

Spanish left-back Sergio Reguilon picked up an injury that kept out of the win against Leeds, but Conte revealed that the full-back has had returned to first-team training and was looking happy around Hotspur Way today.

“Sergio until today trained apart, but he’s ready to have the training session with us tomorrow and the player is comfortable to be back in training with us,” Conte said.

“I hope that tomorrow he’s totally recovered, but today Sergio was happy. He is feeling good.”