Conte looks to encourage the Spurs players to return

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Conte looks to encourage the Spurs players to return


Antonio Conte says he will try to transfer his energy to his players when he returns to the touchline for Tottenham’s Champions League clash with AC Milan on Wednesday after recovering from gallbladder surgery.

The Italian manager has been absent from the game since Tottenham’s 1-0 first in the last 16 defeat to Milan on February 14 and his assistant, Cristian Stellini, took charge.

Spurs host the seven-time European champions in the second leg on Wednesday, looking to overturn a deficit from the first meeting at the San Siro.

Conte told reporters on Tuesday that he had been in touch while recovering from surgery in Italy.

“But participation is very different,” he said.

“I would like to thank the entire staff for the excellent work they do.

“Besides, it wasn’t easy not having a coach for three weeks, I know that but now that I’m back, I’m very happy.

“We have an important game tomorrow, we want to go to the next round. I hope tomorrow to feel an amazing atmosphere in the stadium.”

Conte returned for two games after the operation, which took place in early February, but said he underestimated the time he would need to recover.

“Now I’m strong and I’m getting my strength back,” he said.

“I still need to get my weight back but other parts are fine.

“I feel good, I have a lot of energy and I will try to give my energy to my players because it is an important game for us.”

Tottenham’s South Korean midfielder Son Heung-min said Conte will give the team “strength” and “desire”.

“I’m glad the manager is sitting next to me,” he said.

“He brings good energy to the team, for sure, when he wasn’t here I think the staff was good and I think obviously if the manager wasn’t here it would be different.

“From yesterday we could feel that energy and his determination again. If he is on the line the players will be more comfortable and I think it will give us an improvement amazing and amazing power.”

AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli has admitted that Conte’s return should boost Tottenham.

“Well, yes, the teacher is in the blood and it is always important,” he said.

“Conte, there is no doubt that he will represent an additional value by participating, but in any case we will play with a difficult opponent, who will be well prepared and very motivated.”

But Piolo warned Tottenham that the Serie A champions will not sit back and defend their lead in north London.

“We expect Spurs to put our balls under pressure compared to what they did in Milan,” he said.

“I think they will be tough, tough and Tottenham if you look at their record, especially in the second half, they are a top team, so we have to be very careful to play them.

“We prepare our game from a technical point of view, a technical point of view but some aspects determine the outcome of a game.

“We have a small anchor but we cannot sit back and control the game. We have to try to score in our game.”


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