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Tottenham striker Kulusevski ‘very close’ to returning from injury

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte says Dejan Kulusevski will not play against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League.

The Sweden international has recovered from a hamstring injury sustained on international duty last month and has returned to light training.

And although he was spotted with the team in open practice at Hotspur Way on Tuesday ahead of their tough Group D clash with the Europa League champions, Conte said it would be “stupid” to risk him.

“Deki has started a small part of the training session but is unavailable tomorrow,” he said.

“He’s close to being ready. He had an MRI on Monday and it was really, really positive. At the same time I spoke to the doctor and he said there was a five percent risk if we played him tomorrow.

“I don’t want to take any risks because Deki is very important to us. It would be really foolish to try and risk it and lose it for the rest of our nine games.

“A little patience and we will try to use him in the best possible way. At Everton he will probably be available to play.”

Conte confirmed Lucas Moura would be on the bench after two months with a tendon injury.

“Lucas is available with us despite only two or three training sessions. He’ll be sitting on the bench with us tomorrow. No other problems. No further injuries.”

Spurs will go a long way to qualifying for the knockout stages if they can beat Frankfurt, who they drew 0-0 against last week.

The Italian admits he’s struggling in a hectic schedule between balancing rotating players and getting results.

“It’s a difficult situation for all clubs,” he said. “Playing every three days is a big effort. You have to try to handle the situation as best you can.

“You know you have to do rotations, but at the same time you know you have to get good results.

“Otherwise there is a lot of criticism of the results. We’re keeping our fingers crossed to try to have all the players available to do a great balance rotation because it’s important to have a good balance in any game.

“And if you’re filming a lot, you don’t want to lose your identity. That’s the most important thing for every team to keep the club at a good level.”

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