Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Antonio Conte confirms exciting plan for Tottenham new boys with one ‘on top form’

Antonio Conte standing on the touchline for Tottenham

Antonio Conte believes his two new Tottenham Hotspur signings are ready to hit the ground running and adapt to the Premier League.

Tottenham left it late to strengthen their squad in the January transfer window. Much was expected before it opened, but it took them until deadline day to make their only two signings.

Fabio Paratici brought Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur to the club from his own former employers, Juventus.

Both came on as second-half substitutes in Tottenham’s FA Cup win over Brighton at the weekend. But now, as the attention turns to a midweek Premier League match against Southampton, Conte is ready to count on them as starters.

While not confirming whether they would start, Antonio Conte was able to say they could.

He told a press conference: “Yeah, I think they’re working very well and I’m pleased for the way they’re understanding our idea of football.

“Both Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski are good players and they’re working very well.

“For sure, they need a bit of time to understand very well and to go into the team, to understand our tactical aspect offensively and defensively, but I’m very pleased with them because I know that I can count now about them.”

Antonio Conte will target defenders in summer

Tottenham will target new defenders this summer after strengthening other areas in January

Asked further if the duo would be able to cope with the physicality of the Premier League, Conte gave an affirmative response.

He replied: “Yeah, we’re talking about two strong players physically with good quality. Kulusevski and Bentancur are strong physically and they can play in this league.

“This league is not for all because you have to match quality and physicality to play in this league. We’re talking about two players able to play in this league and they can help us a lot.

“Rodrigo Bentancur is on top form and Kulusevski we’re working very hard because he has an important engine. Two important players for us who can help us for the rest of the season.”

Antonio Conte provides Tottenham Hotspur injury updates

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte during the Premier League defeat to Chelsea, January 2022

While he can rely on his new players, Conte will be without three members of his existing squad.

Unavailable for the home game against Southampton are Eric Dier, Oliver Skipp and Japhet Tanganga.

In Skipp’s case, Conte confirmed: “He had a [groin] problem but we tried to take care of him. I think we need to have a bit of patience with him.

“Skippy is another player I have seen great improvement in him. He’s another young player with a lot of space for improvement. It’s a pity that now he’s not available but I hope very quickly to have him with the squad and I asked my medical department to give me this opportunity.”

Pressed on when the midfielder may return, Conte added: “Honestly I hope to have him back very soon.

“The medical department said to me two weeks but I hope to have him available in one week or 10 days maximum. For this reason I try to push my medical department because we need Skipp to be available. We’re talking about a good and important player for Tottenham.”

Meanwhile, Conte may have to be more patient with Dier.

He clarified: “He had the same problems that he had in the past before playing the last game against Chelsea. He had a little muscular problem in his thigh.

“It’s not serious but the problem is in the same place as the last time, so for this reason the doctors told me to be patient and not to take risks with him. It’s a pity because you know the importance of this player to us.”

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