Antonio Conte has confirmed Tottenham defender Eric Dier will miss the North London derby on Sunday due to injury.
Spurs host Arsenal with both teams amid battle with positives for COVID-19 and injury setbacks, with key players out of battle.
Conte confirmed that Dier and Heung-min Son were definitely absent and also hinted that there could be more positive coronavirus results ahead of the derby shock.
The Italian told the media on Friday: “Regarding Eric Dier, he suffers from a small problem. A little muscle problem.
“He’s not in good shape for the game against Arsenal. It’s a shame, I repeat. Now it’s important for us to play these three games before the international break and then get some important players back.
“For us, much more than the other teams, it is very, very important to recover all the important players. Yeah, it’s life for us to get these players back.
“As you very well know, we have a lot, a lot of injuries. And then there is always the COVID situation every day, which must be checked. Sometimes you find a surprise.
“But we are preparing for the game against Arsenal. I think right now all the teams are suffering from injury issues, COVID situation and international competition. And Tottenham the same.
“You know very well, you saw the bench, our bench during the game against Chelsea. I can understand that we are at a point where we have to try to recover injured players very quickly.
Meanwhile, Cristian Romero, Steven Bergwijn and Sergio Reguilon are all fighting to get in shape ahead of the derby.
Tanguy Ndombele is available but his future at the club is in question, having been abandoned by Conte for the Carabao Cup return loss to Chelsea in midweek after storming the tunnel in the FA Cup victory over Morecambe on Last weekend.
Arsenal also have big absences.
They will be without Granit Xhaka, who will be suspended after being sent off against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday.
Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka also have injury doubts after limping at Anfield, while Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard and Takehiro Tomiyasu could also miss out again with manager Mikel Arteta missing up to 12 players.
After his side’s 0-0 draw against Liverpool on Thursday, Arteta admitted Sunday’s north London derby could be in doubt due to multiple absences.
The Spaniard said: “It’s a possibility in every game.
“On our side, on the opponent’s side, because of the amount of problems everyone is having and because it happens every week.
“We try to prepare for the matches thinking that we are going to play.
“If something happens along the way, that’s what it is. »
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