Tottenham Hotspur will be without Dejan Kulusevski for Everton’s visit to north London this weekend after the Swedish winger suffered an injury setback in training on Thursday. However, Antonio Conte has fired a warning at the Toffees as Spurs look to continue their perfect record on home soil this season.
Kulusevski looked set to recover from a minor hamstring strain and return to action against Frank Lampard’s side on Saturday afternoon. But he’s been sent for an MRI scan and is also expected to miss next Wednesday’s high-profile trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Despite the 22-year-old’s prolonged absence, Conte is in high spirits about the threat his current front three possesses. Ex-Everton star Richarlison has joined Harry Kane and Son Heung-min in Conte’s first-choice attack in recent weeks, and the Italian head coach has admitted the trio has proved him wrong in how well they’re combining.
He said: “At the start, I had some doubts about putting them all together, but when it happened, I always had a great answer about Richy, Sonny and Kane because we are talking about three strikers who work a lot for the team.
“This is why I think we can play with these three strikers because they give us a lot of potentialities offensively, but at the same time, defensively, we have a good balance. When we play with three strikers, you have to know that your type of game is more direct – not with a lot of possession because you have three strikers, only two midfielders.”
Tottenham have been dominant at home this season, winning all six games and scoring 19 goals. And with four of their final six outings before the World Cup at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Conte will be keen to continue the momentum and keep in touch with Premier League pace-setters Arsenal and Manchester City.
“For sure, we want to continue this good run at home,” Conte added. “It gives you a lot of energy, positive energy because our fans, from the start until the end, they push us in a strong way. I feel this energy on the bench, and I think my players feel it on the pitch. We have to try to exploit this when we play at home.”
Tottenham currently trail league leaders Arsenal by four points and will have to be considered title contenders if they’re still in touch once the Premier League season resumes on Boxing Day. But Everton are bound to provide a stern test for Conte’s front three this weekend, with the Toffees in search of a third win in four games.