The new Spurs boss has overseen four matches in charge so far, but he has now admitted that a “very serious” problem has cropped up ahead of an intense period of matches
Antonio Conte is facing up to a crucial period of Tottenham’s season without the club’s top centre-back.
The Spurs boss has confirmed that summer signing Cristian Romero is out for the rest of 2021 with a “very serious” hamstring injury, with the Argentina international set to be on the sidelines until “January or February” at the earliest.
The blow will mean that Conte will be relying on the likes of Eric Dier, Ben Davies, Joe Rodon, Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga as he looks to implement his preferred three centre-back system, with the popular Romero missing the busy festive period of his first season in England.
The 23-year-old joined Spurs from Atalanta last summer on an initial loan deal that will turn into a £42.5million permanent move.
He has so far played 13 times for the club in all competitions, and was sent off in Conte’s first game in charge last month – the 3-2 win over Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League.
The news will come as a blow to Conte, who had been hoping to galvanise his side following last week’s meek Conference League defeat to NS Mura in Slovenia.
Elaborating on Romero’s injury, Conte said: “The news is not positive, not good.
“Because the injury is serious and I think it will take time before to see him again. Surely next year and we need to check his injury week by week but the injury is serious.
“Now he is trying to recover, he needs a long time. He needs time to recover. It’s a pity because he’s an important player for us but the injury is very serious.
“January, February I don’t know, but 2021 is finished to play. We have to wait to recover well but the injury is serious.”
Conte also discussed the potential for January arrivals at Spurs, and whether or not Romero’s injury could force him into the transfer market.
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
“For now, January is very far,” he said.
“We need to be concentrated. We need to move up the table and get points.
“For us it’s very, very important to stick close to the teams above us, but January is very far.
“I need to make the right evaluations on my whole squad. We have to play many, many games. I trust these players. We are working hard.
“Honestly when I decided to become Tottenham manager I didnt speak about this aspect [transfers].
“When you take a job, you have to make your evalutations and you have to feel your sensations. And honestly I felt Tottenham was the right club to work and to bring my ideas and pholiosophy of football.
“For this reason, I accepted the job.”