Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte will return to London to take the reins of the team again following his gallbladder surgery but only after they play Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend, his assistant Cristian Stellini said on Friday.
Conte has been recovering in Italy, making a quick return for a defeat at Leicester City in mid-February before being told to rest and recover again. He will be back on the touchline for Spurs’ Champions League last-16 second leg at home to AC Milan.
In Conte’s absence, Tottenhams beat Manchester City, West Ham United and Chelsea to move back into the top four, earning the Italian a Premier League Manager of the Month nomination.
“He (Conte) said he will come back this week. Straight after the match against Wolves he will be in London. He will be in charge again from Sunday,” Stellini told reporters ahead of Saturday’s game.
Spurs are looking to bounce back from a fourth consecutive fifth-round FA Cup exit after they lost to below-strength second-tier side Sheffield United on Wednesday.
“His (Conte’s) thoughts were like everyone. Everyone was disappointed and it is difficult to shake off this type of match, this type of result,” Stellini said.
“Maybe the players now know a different face of me also and not only the face of Antonio because it was not a good result and we are all disappointed for that.
“My expectation is that tomorrow we play a different game, but the same game we played in the league last week and the week before and this (past) month.”
Wolves have climbed out of the relegation zone to sit 15th, three points above the bottom three, after they appointed Julen Lopetegui in November and Stellini praised the Spaniard for his impact.
“Lopetegui is an important manager. They selected a good manger and since Lopetegui has been in charge of Wolverhampton, I think they are improving a lot,” he said.
“They are doing something different because the mentality of Lopetegui is a bit different if you compare to the last manager (Bruno Lage).
“We expect a difficult game, but with a good approach we think we can play a good game tomorrow and challenge them in the right way like we did in the last two (league) games.”