Conte extends olive branch to two Tottenham misfits with increased involvement on the horizon

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte

The chances of Tottenham signing a new midfielder this month have tumbled after Antonio Conte confirmed two fringe stars won’t leave the club in January, and instead could begin to feature more regularly.

Tottenham produced a second half blitz to sink Crystal Palace 4-0 on Thursday night. The fact they finally scored first also snapped a streak of 10 matches in which Spurs shipped the game’s opening goal.

Oliver Skipp was given a rare start in the engine room with Yves Bissouma and Rodrigo Bentancur both absent. The 22-year-old is fourth-choice at best in central areas and showed signs of rust in the early going.

Indeed, Skipp was singled out for criticism in multiple sections of the British media. However, he, along with fellow fringe midfielder Pape Sarr, have both been backed by their manager.

Sarr was a second half substitute and he, more so than Skipp, has been linked with a January loan move away.

So too has Bryan Gil, though the diminutive Spaniard has racked up back-to-back starts with the injury bug biting in the forward line.

Gil grabbed an assist in the victory over Palace and via Sky Sports, Antonio Conte has stressed none of his younger and lesser fancied stars will leave on loan this month.

Explaining why, Conte pointed to Spurs’ upcoming challenge on three fronts.

Tottenham will hope to go far in the FA Cup as well as make a significant dent in the Champions League knockout rounds.

The battle for top four in the Premier League is also fiercer than ever thanks to Newcastle’s rapid rise. Furthermore, the mid-season World Cup has ensured the fixture list is more congested than ever in the second half of the campaign.

In Conte’s eyes at least, loaning out his youngster crop – even if it means limiting their scope for development – simply doesn’t make sense.

Skipp, Sarr “stay with us” – Conte

“Skipp and Sarr showed they are really reliable players for me and I’m really happy,” said Conte.

“We exploited the period of the World Cup to work with these young players to improve themselves under the tactical aspect and physical aspect.

“Now they stay with us in the squad. I don’t want to send these young players on loan because the league is very difficult. We have to play Champions League, we have to play FA Cup.

“I think these young players can stay here to help us face these three competitions.”

Skipp and Sarr will hope to feature in Tottenham’a FA Cup Third Round tie with Portsmouth on Saturday.

Spurs have been handed a decidedly winnable Round of 16 clash in the Champions League against AC Milan too.

Conte will likely select his strongest eleven for each leg, though the Premier League matches before those ties could be where the Italian rotates his squad.

In any case, Skipp, Sarr and seemingly Gil too look set to feature more than they have been doing in the remainder of the season.

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