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Spurs manager Antonio Conte highlighted the displays of midfield duo Pape Matar Sarr and Oliver Skipp despite the club falling to a 1-0 Champions League loss to Milan.
The Italian giants narrowly edged out the English side at San Siro on Tuesday, with Milan attacker Brahim Diaz netting the only goal of the game in the seventh minute.
Spurs went into the game on the back of a humiliating 4-1 loss to Leicester on Saturday, with several injuries undoubtedly playing their part in the crushing defeat.
Conte praises Spurs midfield duo
The Premier League outfit were without regular midfield pair Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur against Milan, with the former missing through suspension and the latter now out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Yves Bissouma is also sidelined with a foot injury, meaning Sarr and Skipp were handed rare starts as Spurs looked to come away from Italy reasonably unharmed. A 1-0 defeat is certainly not the worst result Conte could have hoped for, with the manager praising his young midfielders.
“I’m really satisfied for both players,” said Conte, as per LiveScore. “They played a really good game and showed the trust that we have in them, they repaid this.
“Don’t forget we now have three midfielders and we have to continue maybe to the end of the season with these three midfielders, and to have this type of performance from Skippy and Pape Sarr makes me more relaxed because I know I can count on them 100%.
“And then we have Pierre Hojbjerg who for us is a key player.”
Skipp grateful for first Champions League start
Skipp was handed his first Champions League start on Tuesday, with the 22-year-old impressing alongside 20-year-old Sarr. The duo have been largely forced to watch on from the substitute bench this season, but Skipp was grateful to have finally been handed a starting role against Milan.
“It wasn’t the result we wanted, but there’s a second leg to come and we’re still right in the game,” said Skipp. “There were things we could have done better, things we did well. It was nice to gain the manager’s trust.”
Spurs boss upbeat despite loss
Despite the narrow defeat, Spurs boss Conte remains upbeat, and is confident that his men can turn the tie around when the clubs meet again in north London next month.
Spurs have four matches between now and the huge clash against Milan, beginning with Premier League meetings with London rivals West Ham and Chelsea, both at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Championship outfit Sheffield United then host the Premier League club in the FA Cup fifth round, with Conte then taking his men to Molineux to take on Wolves in league action.
The manager will be desperate for some of his injured players to return in time for the second leg of the Champions League tie on 8th March. He remains positive about the return leg despite the injuries and indeed the result.
“You have to play two games,” added Conte. “It was a fantastic atmosphere. I know San Siro, and I know the difficulty to play in this atmosphere.
“For sure in the second game we have to play in our stadium and for sure all the fans will create the right atmosphere to push us to overcome the Milan obstacle.”
Pape Matar Sarr 👏
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 14, 2023
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