Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has said that he expects goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to return from his long-term injury in February.
Lloris has been out since the start of October when he dislocated his elbow in Spurs‘ 3-0 defeat to Brighton, with the Frenchman undergoing surgery shortly after.
Second-choice stopper Paulo Gazzaniga has deputised since and looks likely to keep his place for a while longer yet.
Speaking in a press conference on Friday, Mourinho provided an update on the goalkeeper’s fitness.
“He’s a champion. Not just a champion of the world but also a champion as a professional,” the manager said.
“[He] works very, very hard, very brave, accelerates processes, but there are limits of that acceleration of process with such an important injury.
“But he’s doing amazingly well. He’s working with a different group of people, since the physios, until the goalkeeping coaches, working really, really hard.
“It’s difficult to set up a date, I would say February. I probably would not be far from it and February goes from the 1st to the 29th this year.”
Mourinho was previewing his side’s crunch Premier League clash with Chelsea in North London, with Tottenham on a much better run of form than their rivals.
The match will see Mourinho face up against Blues boss Frank Lampard, who won two Premier League titles under the Portuguese’s stewardship as a player at Stamford Bridge.
Asked if he can re-write the narrative of the game being about him facing a former club, Mourinho said: “Yes, of course. I can, maybe others cannot. I can.
“For me, it’s a game. I am 100% Tottenham, 100% my club always, all my career. No space at all for my previous clubs. I gave everything to all of them, my previously.
“Everything. I kept nothing from them. I gave everything but they are my previous clubs. I give everything to my club – my club is Tottenham. For me, it’s so easy for me to play that game.
“Difficult because of Chelsea’s quality but not difficult from an emotional point of view. Not difficult at all. Easy.”
Elsewhere, Lampard also spoke about the weekend’s clash in his press conference, insisting that he is not looking to be a managerial “clone” of Mourinho.
The 41-year-old said: “There’s not one [most important] thing [I’ve learnt from him], no; he’s obviously a good manager with loads of good attributes.
“I’m happy to go up against Jose; for me to play under him, he was a big influence in my career.”