‘Very serious’ – Conte addresses Tottenham injury blow and January implications

Date published: Wednesday 1st December 2021 4:30 - Samuel Bannister

Antonio Conte Tottenham November 2021

Cristian Romero will not feature for Tottenham Hotspur again until 2022, it has been confirmed by Antonio Conte – who also refused to give anything away about how they may use January to adapt.

Romero was one of several signings made by Tottenham during the first summer transfer window overseen by new managing director Fabio Paratici. The Argentina international arrived from Atalanta, having previously been taken to Juventus by Paratici.

After winning the award for the best defender in Serie A in the 2020-21 season, Romero was making a decent start to life in the Premier League. However, he picked up an injury while with his country in the most recent international break.

Conte previously admitted it did not look good and he has now provided an update on the situation.

“The news is not positive,” he said. “The injury is serious.

“It will take time before we see him again. Surely next year, we have to check his injury week by week, but the injury is serious.

“Now he is trying to recover but he needs a long time to recover. It is a pity because he is an important player for us. The injury is very serious.

“I don’t know, January, February. But for 2021 he has finished to play. We have to wait and recover well.”

Romero was the only centre-back Tottenham signed in the summer despite rumours that they wanted two. Amid his absence, rumours about an additional reinforcement may increase.

With the ever-demanding Conte now at the helm, there will be expectations about how they could bolster the ranks. But he insisted the focus is not on how to cover for Romero or any other transfer ideas yet.

Antonio Conte not talking about January

“Honestly when I decided to become Tottenham manager I didn’t speak about this aspect,” he said.

“When you take a job, you have to make your evaluations and you have to feel your sensation. And honestly I felt Tottenham was the right club to work and to bring my ideas and philosophy of football. For this reason, I accepted the job.

“I didn’t talk about January or the way to improve the team. I repeat: I’m here because I have great enthusiasm, great patience to start a new work with Tottenham.”

While Romero will be out for a while, there is better news for compatriot Giovani Lo Celso. According to Conte, he is “much, much better” in terms of a recovery than Romero.

“My expectation is to see him the day after we play against Brentford [on Thursday],” Conte confirmed. “He’s started to work on the pitch.

“For sure Giovani is another player we need to try to exploit. He’s a good player and now I want to work with him.”


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Conte sends message to Bergwijn

Elsewhere in his press conference ahead of the midweek match against Brentford, Conte was asked about attacker Steven Bergwijn.

There have been reports linking the Dutchman with an exit in recent days. He is not believed to be rated too highly by his new boss.

But in public, Conte gave a different message about Bergwijn’s future, revealing he still had to make further judgements on him.

Steven Bergwijn in action for Tottenham v Chelsea pre-season

“We’re talking about a player that has important skills and it was a pity for me – but not the national team, because he scored in qualifying for Holland – because I would have liked to have him during the two weeks on the international break to work with him and know him much better,” Conte said.

“But for sure he has great quality. He’s good one v one, he’s fast, he has quality, he can beat a man and also score. Now we’re working.

“Now also he’s understanding what I want from him. And for me, he’s one of the strikers who can play in all three positions of the strikers.

“Surely he’s a player that I have to make an important evaluation of. But he’s in my squad and I count on him for sure.

“(On Thursday) he’s ready and available. (Against) Mura, he had a problem, otherwise he would have played. But (against Brentford) he’s ready and available and I count on him.”

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