Antonio Conte has played down reports of an illness outbreak in the Tottenham squad and insists Harry Kane will be fit to face Norwich in Sunday’s crucial Premier League clash.
A victory at Carrow Road would guarantee Spurs Champions League football for next season, but there were concerns as rumours begin to circulate on social media that illness had been sweeping through the camp.
Kane’s fitness was thrown into doubt when he pulled out of a media appearance on Friday afternoon as a precaution due to feeling unwell.
Speculation began to surface about what part he might play at Carrow Road, but Conte quashed those doubts, confirming Spurs’ talisman will be fit to take on Norwich.
When asked if Kane will be fit to lead Spurs’ Champions League charge, Conte said: “Yes for sure, and because in the last game we had Deki Kulusevski and he didn’t train on Saturday but was good to play.
“Harry doesn’t want to miss this type of game. It means a lot to everyone at the club.”
‘The virus is the last of our problems’
On the rumours of illness in the Spurs camp, he added: “If you remember the last game, we had three or four cases of stomach problems.
“In this week I have to be honest we had a couple of cases but we overcame the situation. Also, members of the staff one day they were not feeling so good. I don’t know why, the last week but also this week we faced this situation.
“In this moment, though, this virus is the last of our problem. We are close to a big achievement and we are totally focused. The situation of the players is the same as the last game.”
‘I don’t want to know about Lasagna-gate’
The reports that food poisoning had gripped Tottenham were remarkably similar to the 2006 ‘Lasagna-gate’, where Arsenal went on to secure Champions League football ahead of Spurs on the final day of the season.
Spurs went into the final day of the season one point ahead of the Gunners, but a bout of food poisoning, which affected 10 members of the squad, swept through the squad and they went on to lose to West Ham, while Arsenal won their final game at Highbury against Wigan to secure Champions League football.
Asked about what went on to be known as ‘Lasagna-gate’, Conte said: “I don’t want to know this story.
“I’m not interested to go deeper into this story,” he laughed.
“I think that we are in a good moment of form. We have worked well this week and prepared very well. We have to be concentrated.
“There is the whole season behind this game and we can reach something amazing for us because I think no one can imagine top four this season. We have worked hard and now everything is in our hands.”
‘We can reach something amazing’
Spurs’ situation is the same 16 years later – win their final game of the season and they will pip Arsenal to fourth spot and book a Champions League return.
Conte says it would be an “amazing” achievement for Spurs to qualify given the state of the club when he joined in November.
“The whole season is behind this game, and we can reach something amazing for us because I think no one could imagine Tottenham in the top four this season,” he added.
“This must be a big push for us because we work very hard and we deserve to stay in this position. And now everything is in our hands, not in the hands of the others. And for this reason we want to get it.
“To finish in the top four it means a lot for everybody because top players, top coaches and top clubs want to play this competition and not other competitions.
“To have this opportunity is vital for us for many reasons. The club receive money to participate in this competition which is very important. We have to try to do all our best and if we remember the way that we started in November for sure it is a big achievement for the improvement this team did.
“At the same time it is important that we don’t forget our path, it was a difficult path. It is important for the club to understand what we did together but not without problems.”