Tottenham face huge midfield crisis for Milan tie as Bentancur injured and trusted Conte lieutenant banned

Rodrigo Bentancur Tottenham injury

Tottenham’s season could be about to unravel as injuries to key men bite hard in a critical stage of the campaign for Antonio Conte’s men.

Recent results looked to have signalled a turnaround in Spurs’ form, with the 1-0 victory over Manchester City arguably one of the best performances of the season and also their third clean sheet in a row.

However, Saturday’s heavy 4-1 loss to Leicester revealed a return to their defensive issues that have been evident all campaign long.

With skipper Hugo Lloris out for at least six weeks and their best centre-back Cristian Romero banned, Tottenham’s back three were all over the place against the Foxes, while right wing-back Pedro Porro had a debut to forget.

But their afternoon went from bad to worse when their best player on a poor day, Rodrigo Bentancur, limped off with a serious-looking knee injury.

At this stage, there is no indication how long he will be out but the signs were not good.

And with Yves Bissouma already on the sidelines for potentially two months, Conte’s midfield numbers are now incredibly thin.

Add in the fact that arguably their most consistent performer, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, is also banned for Tuesday night’s Champions League last-16 first-leg clash with AC Milan and Spurs look in big trouble for the game at the San Siro.

With Bentancur almost certainly looking out, that leaves Conte with just Oliver Skipp and Pape Matar Sarr as a likely engine room pairing.

Romero silver lining for Spurs

At least Romero will be back though, while Porro might be benched for the more defensive-minded Emerson Royal.

Tottenham’s January signing from Sporting Lisbon is known for his attacking ability. However, he was often ripped to shreds by Harvey Barnes on Saturday, prompting former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood to label his performance as ‘disgusting’.

Milan also have injury issues of their own to deal with, although Fikayo Tomori and Ismael Bennacer could return in time.

But given their injury issues and defensive struggles, Tottenham might be hoping for damage limitation from their first leg in the hope of being healthier for the return on March 8.

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