Antonio Conte Reveals That Two Key Spurs Duo Are Set To Miss Southampton Clash

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte will assess summer signings Ivan Perisic and Yves Bissouma before deciding if they are ready to start Saturday's Premier League opener against Southampton.

Perisic suffered a calf injury playing for Inter Milan on the final day of last season but featured for over 70 minutes in Spurs' friendly defeat to Roma in Israel last weekend.

Bissouma, who missed the majority of the club's pre-season tour of South Korea with Covid, tweaked his hamstring in Haifa and is also a doubt to start, while record-signing Richarlison is suspended and Oliver Skipp is out with a gashed leg.

On Perisic, Conte said as cited by Sports Central: “It's normal after a serious injury to be struggling a bit to come back in the best physical condition. Honestly, I'm surprised because he reduced his time to recover. We are really happy. “At the same time we are not worried but we have to pay a bit of attention to give him the right time to adapt himself to recover 100 percent after his injury. “But I know him very well and he is a very good addition for us. It will be really important for his experience for the younger players. [Ryan] Sessegnon is a player who plays in the same role. Ivan can teach him a lot of situations to improve.

He added: “We have a similar situation like Ivan with Matthew [Doherty]," Conte added. “Matthew had a serious injury and I think worse than Ivan. Now he is working a lot. He has had a bit of time to come back to be fit like last season. I hope to bring him in the same situation as last season as I think Matthew, he played really well. At the moment we need to have a bit of patience. He needs to have a bit of patience but is working very well to be fit quickly.”

Conte agreed to stay at Spurs for a further year shortly after guiding them back into the Champions League on the final day of last season.

After boosting his squad with six summer signings, the Italian sounded more positive about staying at the club long-term, saying the longevity of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp gave the top two an advantage again this term.

Conte said: “We are talking about two of the best clubs in the world that are working with the same coaches for seven years. “Now they are in my opinion in a position that is very difficult for the others to close the gap - but we have to do this. “If you are with the same manager for many years and you have continuity, and you continue an idea and you continue a vision, then for sure it's the best situation for the club to improve and to grow season by season. “Because then the vision is one, it's not a different vision with another manager. For sure, to have a coach for many years, you reduce the time because you give continuity in the work together - the manager, the club and the players.

The Italian said: “I think that this is important. For me, after seven months, it's easier now to work with the players because the players know what I want and now we can work on other aspects to implement their football knowledge and we grow, in the tactical aspect, the physical aspect and the mentality aspect. Because you know each other and I think is very important."

Asked about Spurs' ambitions this season, Conte joked: “Why not not win the Champions League and Premier League? “I think my target and the club's target is to try to continue to improve, to develop the process that we started seven months ago. “It doesn't mean that if you lift a trophy or win the Premier League or the Champions League, or you get a place in the Champions League you achieved your target. It means we have to try to develop in every aspect. “Because my experience tells me we're going in the right direction but at the same time I know the club needed another step before being competitive to the top team in the league and Europe.

Conte added: “We have to not be presumptuous or arrogant and know only one word: work. Work to try to improve on the pitch and outside the pitch to become a top club. “We're on the right direction, we're improving and our target has to be to develop the situation and to increase our value on and off the pitch.