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Conte hopes to energise Spurs players on touchline return

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte watches over a training session. Photo: Daniel Leal/AFP

Antonio Conte said he would try to transfer his energy to his players when he returns to the touchline for Tottenham’s Champions League clash against Milan on Wednesday following his recovery from gallbladder surgery.

The Italian manager has been absent from the dugout since Tottenham’s 1-0 first-leg last 16 defeat to Milan on February 14 with his assistant, Cristian Stellini, taking the reins.

Spurs host the seven-time European champions in the second leg on Wednesday, looking to overturn a deficit from the first meeting at the San Siro.

Conte told reporters on Tuesday he had been keeping in touch while he was recovering from his operation in Italy.

“But to be present is totally different,” he said. 

“I thank the whole staff because they did a really good job. 

“Also, the players to be without the coach for three weeks wasn’t easy. I know this but now I’m back, I’m really happy. 

“We have an important game tomorrow. We want to go to the next round. I hope tomorrow to feel an amazing atmosphere in the stadium.”

Conte had returned for two matches after his surgery, which took place at the start of February, but said he had underestimated the time he would need to recover.

“Now I am well and I have recovered energy,” he said. 

“I have to still recover weight but for the rest I am OK. 

“My feeling is good, I have a lot of energy and will try to transfer my energy to my players because it’s an important game for us.”

Forward Son Heung-min said Conte would infuse the team with “energy” and “passion”.

“I’m glad that the manager is sitting next to me,” he said. 

“He brings good energy for the team, obviously. When he was not here I think the staff did a good job and I think obviously when the boss is not here it’s different.

“From yesterday we could feel that energy and his passion again. If he’s on the touchline players will be more comfortable and I think it will give us an amazing boost and amazing energy.”

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