Antonio Conte was absent again from the Tottenham Hotspur dugout as his side lost 1-0 at Wolves in the Premier League on March 4.
Conte had initially missed Spurs’ 1-0 win over Manchester City on February 5 after having his gallbladder removed, suffering from “severe abdominal pain”.
Assistant coach Cristian Stellini led the team at the Etihad Stadium but Conte returned for the subsequent defeats at Leicester City and AC Milan in the Premier League and Champions League.
However, the former midfielder missed the home win against Chelsea and took an additional break following a post operation check-up during Spurs’ trip to Italy.
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What is the latest on Antonio Conte?
Despite returning to his role, Spurs have opted for caution over Conte’s full comeback, with Stellini and Ryan Mason taking on a greater role in training and match days.
Conte attended a pre-scheduled health check in Italy after undergoing the operation in his native country two weeks ago, then followed medical advice to stay in Italy.
Following a routine post-operation check in Italy yesterday, Antonio Conte will remain at his family home to recover from his recent surgery.
Health is the most important consideration and everyone at the Club wishes him well.
Cristian Stellini will assume First Team duties. pic.twitter.com/k9L4ZcpGhv
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 16, 2023
Speaking after the defeat at Molineux, Stellini said that Conte would return to the fold the following day. “Antonio will be a massive boost for us from tomorrow until the end of the season,” he added.
“It is important that Antonio is back. We wanted to have him back after a different result but the team showed to Antonio they are alive.”
Stellini also told Tottenham: “Antonio is fine – he cannot not wait to come back. The medical department decided to leave Antonio’s comeback until Sunday, after the match at Wolves, because that is one month after the surgery. That was the agreement from the doctor who did the surgery and our medical department.”
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Stellini originally said: “Since he came back he felt that maybe he underestimated the procedure after the surgery. Then coming closer to the game, the stress of it all, it created some problems. When he spoke to the doctor they said he needed to take it easy. He will be back soon but not as quickly as he would like.
“We have a call every day, maybe three times a day and every time he wants to come back. He repeats every day ‘I want to come back, Cristian – I’m sorry, how was the training? Tomorrow we have to organise this, we have to organise the team, what do you think?’. That is every time in his sentence.
“It’s more important than football and this is the reason why the club, Antonio and the doctors made this decision. We don’t know the time. The doctor has an idea but really it’s a feeling from Antonio. That surgery was not easy, it was an emergency surgery and maybe he underestimated this. Antonio not 100% is not Antonio, and this creates stress.”
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Will Antonio Conte return against AC Milan?
As it stands, it appears likely Conte will be back in the technical area for the match at home to the Serie A side on Wednesday, when Tottenham will bid to put successive defeats behind them by turning their Champions League fortunes around.
Spurs lost the first leg of their round of 16 tie 1-0 in Milan but will be hopeful of prevailing in the return game against opponents who lost at Fiorentina on Saturday.
In a previous interview with Sky Sports, Stellini said Conte has been finding it difficult to be away from the role.
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“Antonio is recovering and is a bit upset because he cannot be here with us. But he’s fine, physically. We understand he needs to recover from the surgery and now he needs to take his time.
“He is available. We speak about the team and training every day and some decisions we will take together.
“But this time is good only for his recovery because when Antonio is far from his job, he’s not happy. He is happier here, working with us and the team. Maybe it’s a different type of stress, but he needs to take it easy. I don’t have an idea when he will be back, though.”
Antonio Conte surgery details
Conte was diagnosed with cholecystitis — a reddening or swelling of the gallbladder — a pouch in the stomach.
The gallbladder is not needed and removal is a common procedure, with most people allowed to leave hospital the same day, or within 24 hours following keyhole surgery.