Ahead of Tottenham’s game against Brentford, Antonio Conte was asked about Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso’s injuries, in his pre match press conference and it wasn’t good news.
Romero made the move to the capital during the summer and the Serie A Defender of the Year made an instant impact with an immediate breakthrough into the starting XI.
The Argentine has played in a back four, under Nuno Espirito Santo, often alongside Eric Dier and sometimes Davinson Sanchez.
With the arrival of Conte, the defender has made the move into the back three, still alongside Dier and with the introduction of Ben Davies on the left of the back line.
Lo Celso has struggled to get into the regular starting XI so far this season, making seven Premier League appearances but starting just two of those.
Both players are also regular players for the Argentina national team, which is where they both picked up their current injuries.
In the first international break of the season both were in the trio, along with Sanchez, of the players who had to isolate before their return to north London.
Upon their return, Romero got straight back into matches but Lo Celso is battling with the likes of Tanguy Ndombele and Dele Alli for a place in the starting line-up.
The third international break was going well for the duo but in Argentina’s 0-0 draw against Brazil, both players picked up knocks.
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Ahead of the NS Mura game, Conte had already given some information about their injuries and admitted Romero’s was more serious than Lo Celso’s.
However when the 52-year-old spoke to the media on Wednesday, ahead of the Brentford tie, there were a mixture of updates on the absentees.
“[On Romero] the news is not positive, not good,” Conte admitted. “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,” the Italian added.
As Conte alluded to, the defenders absence will be a big blow for Tottenham, as the Argentine was continuing to settle in to a new team and in a new country.
“January, February I don’t know but 2021 is finished to play. We have to wait to recover well but the injury is serious,” the Spurs boss explained.
Conte then went on to give an update on Romero’s club and country teammate.
“The situation with Gio is much better than Romero,” the Italian admitted. “My expectation is to see him the day after we play Brentford.
“He has started to work, Gio is another player we need to exploit, he is a good player.”
The good news about Lo Celso will mean his return, which seems to be likely to be near the end of this week, will allow him to work with his new manager and try and improve areas of his game.
Romero’s injury gives the likes of Tanganga, Rodon and Sanchez a chance to step their game up and be a temporary replacement for the 23-year-old, until his return.
Conte will have to decide who he wants to replace the defender with, when Spurs take on Brentford at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday.