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Antonio Conte in Spurs dugout for Brighton clash after bout of coronavirus

Antonio Conte file photo
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte will be on the bench for his side’s game against Brighton on Saturday after his recent bout of coronavirus.

The Italian tested positive following last weekend’s win at Aston Villa after complaining of mild symptoms but is now feeling better.

He has been involved at the training ground this week by social distancing and will lead the team as normal at the weekend.

“After the game against Aston Villa, the day after, I started to feel mild symptoms,” he said. “A bit of pain in my throat, so I asked to have a Covid test and it was positive.

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“I’m fine and well. For sure it was a strange week for me and also the players, as they’re used to having training sessions with me. Not only with my staff.

“But it’s OK because my staff are doing a great job. I attended the sessions from a distance, and I think on Saturday I stay with my players on the bench.

“Given the length of time from my Covid test I think I could stay on the bench on Saturday.”

While Conte will be involved at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Matt Doherty will not after the right wing-back was ruled out for the season with a knee injury picked up in the win at Villa.

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He will not undergo surgery but has no chance of recovering in time for the run-in.

“This is really bad news for us. You know very well the improvement in our team and it’s a pity because to lose a player like him for the rest of the season is not good,” Conte said.

“But at the end of the season there are only seven games to go and (Ryan) Sessegnon is ready and is in the squad, and there’s Emerson (Royal) and (Sergio) Reguilon. We have to try and cope in the best possible way until the end of the season.

“I think the first visit with the doctor, the doctor said he can recover without surgery, but in these types of situation it is important to have a different opinion and then make the best decision.

“Now we are talking about seven, eight weeks before to recover and for this reason his season has finished. It’s a pity because Doherty was an important player for us.”

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Spurs have hit their straps in recent weeks and six wins from the last seven Premier League games has seen them break into the top four and become favourites for Champions League qualification.

Conte says watching this week’s action in Europe’s premier club competition has whetted the appetite.

“This race is not easy, it’s very important because to finish in the top four would mean a very good result for the club,” Conte added.

“Yesterday and two days ago we watched how important it is to play Champions League, how fascinating are these type of games and I’m sure there is a great desire in my players to be protagonists in this competition, but we know very well there are other teams very strong.

“Arsenal, United, West Ham, Wolverhampton are in this same race with us, but we want to fight until the end and we will see what happens at the end of the season.

“You know very well Champions League is a competition every club, every player, every manager want to play in.

“For this reason it’s important to have this great goal because (it can) change your life if next season you are going to play in Champions League instead to play Europa League, instead to play Conference League or instead you play nothing in this type of competition.

“This situation has to give us a great push and great desire to finish the season the best possible way.”

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