LONDON (Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dejan Kulusevski is back in training and close to full fitness while Lucas Moura is set to return against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League on Wednesday, manager Antonio Conte said on the eve of the match.
Kulusevski has not featured for Spurs since picking up a hamstring injury on international duty with Sweden last month, with Moura also a long-term absentee due to a calf problem.
“I think Deki is almost ready. Yesterday he had an MRI and it was really, really positive but at the same time, I spoke to the doctors and they said tomorrow we can have 5% of risk,” Conte told reporters.
“I don’t want to take a risk because Deki is an important player for us. It would be stupid… against Everton (on Saturday) I think he will be able to play.”
The 22-year-old has been a crucial figure in attack for Spurs, contributing three assists and a goal in all competitions this season.
A win against Eintracht at home will move Conte’s side, who have four points from three games, a step closer to qualification for the last 16. The Germans are level on points but behind on goal difference.
Conte said the busy fixture list was a challenge and he needed to find the right balance between rotating his squad and finding a winning combination.
“It is difficult for everybody, to play every three days is a big effort. We have to manage the situation in the best way possible,” added the Italian.
“You know you have to rotate, but at the same time you need good results, otherwise there is criticism. Fingers crossed we have all the players available… it is important in every game to have a good balance and not lose your identity.”
Spurs have struggled for goals in the Champions League, with talisman Harry Kane yet to open his account in this year’s competition.
The England captain said he was determined to set that right against Eintracht.
“It’s a really important game tomorrow. Of course from a personal point of view I want to score in every game. I’m hoping tomorrow night I can turn that around,” he said.
“It’s going well in the Premier League – eight goals in nine appearances – and I’d like to score a few more in the Champions League.”
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)