Antonio Conte has hinted that he could leave Heung-Min Son out of the Tottenham line-up against Sporting on Tuesday as he looks to “build something with ambition” (Match Result – Sporting 13/5, Draw 13/5, Tottenham 11/10).
The South Korean (2/1 Anytime Goalscorer) has struggled this season, failing to net in seven games in all competitions, form at odds with his sensational 2021-22 campaign in which he shared the Premier League’s Golden Boot with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
Conte has aimed to build depth into his squad since arriving last November and the signings of Dejan Kulusevski (13/5 Anytime Goalscorer) and Richarlison (9/5) have given him both quality and options in attack.
The latter scored both goals in last week’s 2-0 win over Marseille and will expect to keep his place on Tuesday in Lisbon.
Meanwhile, Kulusevski has been arguably his team’s form player. With Harry Kane (23/20 Anytime Goalscorer) the other member of Spurs’ three-man front-line, Son could be the one to miss out at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.
Such a notion would have been unthinkable in the past but Conte hinted to reporters that it is something he has to consider, with him keen to do what is the best for his team’s push for silverware (Tottenham 12/1 – Champions League outright).
He told reporters: “I think when you try to build something important, when you try to build something with ambition and try to be competitive and fight to win, you have to change old habits. Otherwise, it means you want to stay in balance and it means you don’t want to have ambition.
“For this reason, all the players have to accept the rotation. Especially up front, we have four players. For me, especially it’s very difficult right now to drop one of these four players, but I have to make the best decision for the team, also for the players.”
Lucas Moura is Tottenham’s only absentee for the game in Lisbon, although the boss could look to rotate from that win over Marseille, with Ben Davies pushing for a return to the starting XI.
Sporting, who began their Group D campaign with a 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, have issues in defence, with Jeremiah St. Juste absent and doubts over Goncalo Inacio and Luis Neto.
They will field a familiar face, though, with Tottenham academy product Marcus Edwards (12/5 Anytime Goalscorer), who opened the scoring in Germany, set to lead their line.