By Jonathan Veal, PA
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte is reluctant to rotate his side too heavily for a second game in 48 hours in order to keep their identity.
Spurs head to Southampton on Tuesday two days after beating Crystal Palace 3-0 on Boxing Day.
That win against Palace made it six Premier League games unbeaten under the Italian, whose ideas are beginning to take shape in north London as his side are now within striking distance of the top four.
Six Premier League games without defeat. 😁 pic.twitter.com/k7sSKrv8HP
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 26, 2021
Conte is likely to make some changes at St Mary’s but they will not be wholesale.
He said: “It is not easy for us, for every team to play after 48 hours is not simple.
“When you have this type of situation if you have a strong squad it’s easier, because you can make rotation and try to give rest and have a fresher team. We will see tomorrow because I want to understand the real physical condition of my squad.
“It’s normal when you change many players that it’s not simple. You can have a fresh team on one hand but on the other you can lose a bit of identity.
“We will try and make the best decision but it won’t be easy.”
Harry Kane, who was rested for the final 25 minutes against Palace, will definitely start on the south coast as he returns to his best.
The England captain made it two Premier League goals in two games after a barren start to the season and he is beginning to fire alongside Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura.
Conte never doubted that Kane would come good.
“When I say that we have top players and for sure Harry is one of these,” he said.
“We are talking about a top-class striker, and I wasn’t worried when he didn’t score. And I know in every game we created chances and to have Harry is a good thing for me and therefore for my team.
“Now I repeat, we have to continue to work and improve the link also with the strikers, with the wing-backs, with the midfielders.
“We need to improve the confidence and to take more and more personality, to play football and to control more the game. Sometimes we lose the control and I think a great team, a big team has to stay in every moment, into the game to understand what is happening.”
Spurs have a doubt over Giovani Lo Celso, who is nursing a minor calf injury.
“It is not a serious injury, after the game against West Ham the players that didn’t play had a little training and in this training he had a bit of fatigue in his calf,” said Conte.
“But only for precaution we decided to wait, especially in this situation it is important to listen to the player. When you have a problem in your calf only the player can give you the right situation.”