Copy of 2023-02-01T103803Z_239587760_RC2VZY9URPX1_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-ENGLAND-TOT-1675498903566
Tottenham Hotspur coach Antonio Conte. Image Credit: Action Images via Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte could still be in charge when they host Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday despite undergoing surgery earlier this week, assistant coach Cristian Stellini said.

Conte was diagnosed with inflammation of the gallbladder and underwent surgery on Wednesday to have it removed, the Premier League club had said, adding the coach would take a break to recover but not specifying when he would return.

“We don’t know yet when Antonio is coming back,” Stellini, who took over the team in Conte’s absence, told a news conference on Friday.

Ready to step in

“The surgery was good. He’s recovering well. At the moment he’s at home. We have two days before the game and anything can happen.

“The decision will be made tomorrow. We are ready to do everything... probably the doctor who did the surgery they (will) have to decide for him.”

In case the decision is to keep the Tottenham boss sidelined until full recovery, Stellini is ready to continue managing the team.

“I grow with Antonio (as) an assistant manager. I was a player with him. I know very well his mentality, what he wants form the team,” he said.

“Everyone in the staff is ready to transfer to the players (his) idea... Antonio sent me a message and he trusts in us completely.” Tottenham will approach the City clash with a fully-fit squad, as Brazilian forwards Richarlison and Lucas Moura have been back in training, Stellini said, adding there were no new injury concerns.

“Richarlison had a small problem and now he is available. He has been training this week,” Stellini said.

Lengthy absence

“We recover also Lucas and we are happy to say that... He played 45 minutes with the (youngsters) team and is back.” Richarlison missed Tottenham’s 3-0 win in fourth round of the FA Cup at Preston North End last weekend, while Lucas returns after a lengthy absence.

Stellini added that new signing defender Pedro Porro who joined on loan from Portuguese side Sporting could make his debut on Sunday.

“Could be, yeah. He’s young but has great experience. He has played in a similar system that we are used to playing. He’s available, we can use him,” he said.