Tottenham boss Antonio Conte extends absence further as exit draws a step closer

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has further delayed his return to the touchline, according to reports. The Italian will not be back for Saturday’s match at Wolves and is increasingly likely to leave Spurs at the end of the season.

Conte has been recuperating in Italy following emergency gallbladder surgery last month. Assistant coach Cristian Stellini has been leading the team in his absence.

It was expected Conte would return at Molineux. However, that no longer seems to be the case.

The Mail claims the 53-year-old will again be missing for the Premier League clash. Conte looks set to return afterwards to prepare for Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg against AC Milan.

However, the report says there is a growing feeling Conte will leave in the summer. His contract is expiring and there have been no talks over a renewal since the World Cup.

Conte’s illness as well as a disappointing campaign on the pitch so far has added to the expectation that there will be a separation at the end of the season. Spurs crashed out of the FA Cup to Championship side Sheffield United in midweek, ending their most realistic chance of winning silverware this term.

Tottenham have the option to extend Conte’s contract by another year. But the Mail says that is looking unlikely at present.

His family still live in Turin and there is set to be plenty of interest from Italian clubs if he became available. The delay to his return to the dugout is another step towards a departure from Spurs.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy hoped Conte would be the manager to end the club’s trophy drought. However, the Champions League is now the only piece of silverware up for grabs.

Spurs are in a good position to finish in the Premier League top four but have increasing pressure from the likes of Liverpool. Stellini has called on an immediate reaction against Wolves following the huge disappointment at Bramall Lane.

Asked how he will refocus the players’ minds, he said: “When you have a different performance. The last two or three performances were really high-intensity but when you have this type of performance I hope it will be easy to explain to the players what we need to do.

“Normally our team react after a game like this. It’s not the first time it happened and we have to react immediately. Saturday we have an important game and Wednesday another one and we continue.”