Tottenham: Antonio Conte addresses fears over Harry Kane’s fitness ahead of Spurs top four
No lasagna yet?! Antonio Conte calls fears over Harry Kane’s fitness ‘the last of our problems’ despite players and staff suffering from ‘virus’ ahead of Spurs top four… with Gary Lineker fueling reports of a food poisoning epidemic
- Tottenham travel to Norwich and must avoid defeat to secure top-four finish
- Boss Antonio Conte has played down reports of food poisoning within his team
- Harry Kane is suffering from illness, raising fears of an outbreak at Spurs
- The club’s Champions League hopes were ruined by questionable lasagna in 2006
Antonio Conte found himself haunted by the rumbling guts of Tottenham’s past as Harry Kane suffered a stomach ache and rekindled memories of the last game disaster with questionable lasagna.
Kane missed training on Friday and pulled out of his commitments at the launch of an exhibition about his life at the Museum of London, which included a scheduled interview with the BBC.
This prompted Match of the Day host and former Spurs striker Gary Lineker to post a malicious message on social media about an outbreak of food poisoning in the camp.
Harry Kane has been stricken with illness but should recover in time for Norwich clash
Earlier indications suggested Kane could be forced to miss Sunday’s crucial game
It was a reference to 2006, when Tottenham lost their grip on fourth place with a defeat at West Ham on the final day after several members of Martin Jol’s squad were sick overnight with symptoms of intoxication food after eating lasagna at a hotel in London’s Docklands.
They gave up fourth place in the Champions League to Arsenal who beat Wigan in their last game at Highbury and the episode was etched in North London football folklore.
“I don’t want to hear that story – it’s not a story of luck,” said Conte, as he tried to allay concerns ahead of Sunday’s game at Norwich, where Spurs need a point to secure fourth place ahead of Arsenal.
It’s not food poisoning but an insect circulating inside the club for about a week. Kane is the sixth player to fall ill. There was also a staff member, but none ruled out training for more than a day.
Hugo Lloris was suffering from a virus when Spurs beat Burnley 1-0 on Sunday
Hugo Lloris, Pierluigi Gollini, Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Winks were ill before the game against Burnley on Sunday, but none have been ruled out. Lloris played for 90 minutes and Kulusevski came on, while Winks and Gollini were unused substitutes.
“Honestly right now it’s the least of our problems,” said Conte, as he tried to warn against complacency at long-relegated Norwich and complete his transformation from Tottenham , far from the pace when he took over from Nuno Espirito Santo in November.
“There were no targets,” said the Italian head coach, when asked what chairman Daniel Levy and general manager Fabio Paratici had asked him to achieve.
“The situation was not so good. Harry only scored one goal and we conceded a lot. Six points in seven games. Many, many problems.
Dejan Kulusevski was also ill before the game against Burnley and was only fit enough for the bench
Spurs were hit by a virus outbreak ahead of their game at West Ham in May 2006
Antonio Conte is set to guide Spurs to a Champions League place
“The only thing the club asked of me was to improve the situation, to work to improve the players, to try to instill a good mentality and bring this group to a better level.
“If he had told me he wanted to go to the Champions League, I would have said, ‘Are you kidding? That’s the truth.’
Conte still doesn’t seem fully committed to a long-term project rather than a short-term fix.
The Spurs manager will no doubt be concerned about the growing number of illnesses in the squad
“First of all we want to finish the season,” he said when asked. “We need this result because it is vital for everyone. For Tottenham, for the club, for the players, for me.
“I have a very good relationship with Daniel, with Fabio. They know very well that I will try to do everything for the best for the club. I have enjoyed and enjoy working at this club very much.
“Now the most important thing is to achieve this result and then for sure we will find the right solution for everyone.”