Antonio Conte has said that Tottenham’s doctors ought to explain publicly why Oliver Skipp remains out with a pelvic injury as he betrayed his irritation over the midfielder’s continued absence.
Skipp last played for Spurs in the 2-0 Premier League defeat at Chelsea on 23 January and Conte said on 8 February that the medical department ought to have him back in two weeks, although he was putting pressure on them to make it seven to 10 days at most.
It is likely that it was wishful thinking on Conte’s part. Skipp’s injury – it is called pubic symphysis, probably a hangover from him playing 45 of Norwich’s 46 Championship games while on loan last season – is in an awkward spot to treat.
Skipp is similarly frustrated but he does not blame the Spurs medical team. The injury is healing – slowly – and patience for the 21-year-old and Conte has to be the watchword. Skipp will again be in the stands when Spurs host Everton on Monday night seeking to bounce back from their FA Cup exit at Middlesbrough.
“Oliver Skipp, it is a pity,” Conte said. “In England, I think that sometimes you should have a [press] conference with the medical department. It is too easy for the doctors to work here because they don’t speak, they don’t explain what happens, you understand? Sometimes I think that could be good … if, in two weeks … to have a good press conference with the medical department to explain about the situation that they are trying to take care of their players.
“Skipp is not ready. He’s having this problem with groin pain. He is fighting. He could recover before but maybe something was wrong. And now we have to wait.”
Conte said he was “disappointed and frustrated” by the Middlesbrough defeat, although he did not give vent to his rage after the game, as he has done previously.
“One thing is to be angry when we lose and another thing is to speak about my reaction and emotion,” he said. “They are two different situations. To avoid this, I try to keep every time the same behaviour, the same way to face the press conference. It’s normal that sometimes you’re angry and other times you can face the situation in a different way.
“Tottenham’s story is this – many ups and downs. To be competitive, the first thing that has to happen is to be stable. It’s impossible for any manager to come in and change the story in one second, especially when this club for 20 years has this type of situation.”