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‘I underestimated the procedure’: Antonio Conte won’t return to Tottenham until fully fit

Conte only returned to the touchline last weekend following surgery to remove his gallbladder earlier this month

George Sessions
Thursday 16 February 2023 14:31 GMT
"It was a pity to concede in the opening 5 minutes" - Conte on 'battle' with Milan

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has revealed he will not return to work until he is fully recovered from his recent surgery.

The 53-year-old was on the touchline for Tuesday’s Champions League defeat at AC Milan, which was his second game back following an operation to remove his gallbladder on February 1.

A routine post-operation check-up took place on Wednesday in Italy and Conte will now spend the foreseeable future in his home country until he has recovered entirely.

“My great sense of responsibility towards the club, the players, the staff and the fans brought me to anticipate my comeback on the field,” the Spurs boss wrote on Instagram.

“Sadly I underestimated the procedure, which wasn’t a routine operation, but a sudden and serious emergency.

“My body has suffered my impatience and now I am forced to stop until my entire recovery. Who knows me understands what a burden this is for me, but it is necessary. Come on you Spurs.”

Conte experienced “severe abdominal pain” that was later diagnosed as cholecystitis following their 3-0 win at Preston in the FA Cup last month and subsequently underwent surgery to remove his gallbladder days later.

It meant the Italian missed Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Manchester City on February 5 but, two weeks after his operation, he returned to work.

Assistant Cristian Stellini had referenced the need for Conte to “take it easy” and the former Chelsea manager conceded he was not 100 per cent ahead of the midweek fixture in Milan.

Conte had been reserved by his own high-octane standards at Leicester on his return to the touchline but was more active at San Siro and regularly bellowed out instructions to his team.

The head coach insisted after the Champions League last-16 tie he would return to full fitness soon but assistant Stellini will now take on first-team duties.

A club statement read: “Following a routine post-operation check in Italy yesterday (Wednesday), Antonio Conte will remain at his family home to further and fully recover from his recent gallbladder surgery,” a club statement read.

My body has suffered my impatience and now I am forced to stop until my entire recovery

Antonio Conte on Instagram

“Health is the most important consideration and everyone at the club wishes him well. Cristian Stellini will assume first-team responsibility.”

Stellini, who has won two matches in charge of fifth-placed Spurs this season, will lead the team for Sunday’s London derby with West Ham.

Tottenham are in the middle of a busy period and set to play Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup fixtures during the next month.

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