ANTONIO CONTE defied doctor’s orders to return to work with injury-hit Tottenham.

But his Spurs side have it all to do after a narrow last-16 first leg defeat in Milan.

Conte defied doctors orders so he could manage Spurs on Tuesday


Conte defied doctors orders so he could manage Spurs on TuesdayCredit: Getty
Tottenham suffered a 1-0 defeat to AC Milan


Tottenham suffered a 1-0 defeat to AC MilanCredit: Alamy

Boss Conte, who took charge just 13 days after having his gallbladder removed, revealed: “The doctor advised me not to return. His recommendation is to stay calm for 15 days.

“But you have a sense of responsibility that you want to stay every moment with your players.

“I’m still not 100 per cent but am trying to manage it in the best way.”

Conte missed Spurs’ 1-0 win over Manchester City four days after going under the knife, but was back for Saturday’s 4-1 mauling at Leicester.

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He wore a postoperative stomach support during the period after his surgery and admitted it has been harder to shout from the touchline due to his recovery, as he watched Brahim Diaz give Milan a slender lead with a seventh-minute goal.

Conte vowed to be fighting fit by the time the Serie A giants come to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the return leg on March 8.

He added: “In the previous match (against City) I was completely out, I have just had surgery and after two days, my doctor said you can’t go’.

‘I was wearing a medical device in that period but I was able to interact with my team. I was not at 100 per cent but next game I will be fit and I will try to give my contribution.”


Conte was forced to play rookies Oliver Skipp, 22, and Pape Matar Sarr, 20, with Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma injured and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg suspended.

And the Spurs boss is ready to lean on the two youngsters should Bissouma’s stress fracture of the ankle keep him out for the season, as is the case with Bentancur due to a serious knee injury.

Conte added: “Bissouma has a stress fracture in his ankle and when this type of situation happens you never know how long a time he needs to recover. 

“In my mind, in this moment, is to consider three midfielders. 

“To have this type of performance from Skippy and Pape Sarr makes me happy.

“It means they are improving and for sure they will be the future for Tottenham but at the same time they will be the present.

“The game was a battle and, from the start until the end, we played a game with high intensity. It was difficult to play for us and them.

‘We are talking about the first game, there are two games, I hope and I’m sure in the second game, in our stadium, I know our fans will make an important atmosphere to help us overcome Milan.”

England Under-21 starlet Skipp added: “I enjoyed every minute of it.

“It was nice to make my debut, from the start anyway. Playing in the Champions League is what you dream of as a kid.

“It’s only the first leg, we’re still in it and we know with our fans that we can make it a dangerous tie at home.”

Milan could have dealt an even bigger blow on Spurs but missed two late sitters through Charles De Ketelaere and Malick Thiaw.

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Boss Stefano Pioli added: “Yes, there are two goals we could’ve scored. But the game was hard-fought, they caused us problems too and we defended very well on set-plays, so there are many positives. 

“This is just the first step, the second will be even tougher.”

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