Tottenham Hotspur v Sporting Lisbon: Antonio Conte says ‘important players’ needed in January

6 min

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte is closing in on a year as Spurs boss

Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte says the club knows the importance of signing players in January as they bid to book their place in the Champions League knockout stages.

Spurs will be in the last 16 with a game to spare if they beat Sporting Lisbon at home on Wednesday.

Conte’s side have several injury concerns and have lost their last two Premier League games.

“We have to take this big achievement of going to the next round,” he said.

“I think the club understand very well the importance of bringing in important players, good players, in January,” added Conte. “I’m not the person who has to explain this to my club.

“We want to finish in the best possible way before the World Cup. My priority now is not January, but to finish in the best possible way before the World Cup.”

Defender Cristian Romero (calf) and midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (thigh) could return from injury, while forwards Dejan Kulusevski (hamstring) and Richarlison (calf) are still out.

Sporting are only one point behind Group D leaders Tottenham and a win in London would make them favourites to qualify for the last 16.

One of their stars this season, with four goals, has been Englishman Marcus Edwards, 23, who started his career at Spurs but made only one League Cup appearance.

“Marcus is a very good player,” said Spurs defender Ben Davies.

“He’s very direct, he keeps control of the ball very well and he’s quick when he gets you in those situations.

“It’s going to be a tough game playing against him. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”

Sporting will be without Pedro Goncalves and Ricardo Esgaio, who were both sent off in their defeat by Marseille last time out.

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