‘This situation is impossible’ – Conte fumes at pre-World Cup schedule as Son adds to Spurs injury woes

Antonio Conte has accused football organizers of showing a lack of attention to players after Son Heung-min joined Tottenham’s growing injury list ahead of the World Cup.

Tottenham have the chance to move 13 points ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League table when they host the Reds on Sunday but have been beset by fitness issues in recent weeks.

With Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski already ruled out, Spurs suffered a major blow on Tuesday when Son suffered a broken bone around his left eye in their Champions League win at Marseille, casting doubt on his chances of playing in Qatar.

Defender Cristian Romero, meanwhile, has missed Tottenham’s last two games with a calf problem and will not be fit to return against Liverpool.

Speaking at Friday’s pre-match press conference, Conte said match organizers were only paying lip service to concerns over player welfare.

“It’s better to start with a smile. We have to deal with this situation, we have to try to finish these three games in the best possible way,” Conte said.

“We have these injuries; Richarlison is not available for the game, the same for Romero.

“About Romero, I can tell you that if he has the opportunity to play with one leg, he will play with one leg. I tell the fans that we have really committed players at the club.

“Maybe Romero got injured because he wanted to take a risk, but for sure many teams have big injuries because we play every three days.

“We see that this situation is impossible for the future. Many times I hear about player welfare, but [talking] is just a polite way to show they care.

“They’re not really worried about the welfare of the players if the schedule is this, if the most important thing is that the show goes on.

“In the future, I don’t want to hear or talk about player welfare, because that’s not true.”

Conte offered more positive updates on the terms of Rodrigo Bentancur and Kulusevski – the latter of whom has not played since September after sustaining a hamstring injury – but Lucas Moura’s involvement against Liverpool looks uncertain.

“Bentancur is much better and was part of a training session,” Conte said. “It was the same for Kulusevski, he had half a training session with us.

“The problem is that Lucas Moura has different phases with his pain. Today it was really bad, and they told me he was really worried about it. I asked him to try to be available.”

Sunday’s match will mark the first time Tottenham have hosted Liverpool above them in the Premier League table since October 2017, when they won 4-1 against the Reds.

It remains, however, Spurs’ most recent league win over Liverpool, who are unbeaten in the teams’ next nine meetings in the competition (W6 D3).

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