Tottenham Hotspur received a boost ahead of Sunday’s north London Premier League derby against Arsenal after manager Antonio Conte said Dejan Kulusevski was expected to be fit for the game.
Forward Kulusevski has not played for Tottenham since their 2-2 draw at Brentford on Dec. 26 due to a muscle problem, while Rodrigo Bentancur (adductor muscle) and Richarlison (hamstring) have been on the sidelines since the World Cup.
“The news for sure is that the situation is going to improve, especially for Deki (Kulusevski). He had training sessions in the last few days and he is going to be ready to play,” Conte told reporters on Friday.
“About Richy and Rodrigo, both situations are improving. I think at this moment, Deki is much more ready to play and we especially don’t want to take risks.
“For us, it is important to have patience ahead of this period and not to risk accelerating the recovery and lose them (players) for a long period. We have another training session tomorrow to monitor the situation with Rodrigo and Richy.”
Tottenham are fifth in the standings with 33 points after 18 games, two points behind fourth-placed Manchester United who have a match in hand. Arsenal are on top with 44 points, having lost only once in 17 games.
“I think they (Arsenal) are showing they are in the right direction, they are first in the Premier League,” Conte said.
“They are deserving of staying in this position, it’s not because of luck but because they show in every game that they are a really strong team.
“I need to look at ourselves and I continue to repeat the same. I think we are working very hard... in all compartments, we are trying to be more solid.”
Following their 3-1 win at the Emirates in October, Arsenal are looking to complete their first league double over Tottenham since 2013-14.
Spurs are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League home games against Arsenal.