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Tottenham have shown they can cope without injured star striker Harry Kane, according to Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

England international Kane is a major doubt for Spurs’ Premier League trip to Stamford Bridge after sustaining ankle ligament damage three weeks ago.

The 24-year-old was expected to be sidelined until at least next month, but Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has refused to rule him out of Sunday’s clash.

While Conte is full of admiration for Kane, he feels Spurs are dangerous opponents with or without their top goalscorer.

“I think that we are talking about one of the best strikers in the world. I consider him one of the best strikers in the world,” said Conte.

“When you have a player, a striker, who scores 30 goals every season, for sure when he’s missing you can feel this. But, at the same time, Tottenham are an important team for the whole team.

“They have many important players, many talented players. They play good football with great intensity. Also, in the past, they showed that, despite Kane missing many games, nothing has changed.”

Kane, winner of the Premier League golden boot for the past two seasons, has been in prolific form once again this campaign.

He hit 35 goals for Spurs in all competitions before his injury in the recent win at Bournemouth. Chelsea’s strikers, in contrast, have struggled to find the net on a regular basis.

Alvaro Morata has not managed a Premier League goal since Boxing Day, while January signing Olivier Giroud is still waiting for his first league strike since joining from Arsenal.

Morata’s poor form saw him left out of Spain’s squad during the international break, although Conte has backed the former Real Madrid player to enjoy a productive end to the season.

“I think that, in the last week and this week, he has worked very well,” the Italian coach said of Morata.

“I think that he needed to work hard because, don’t forget, Alvaro was out for one and a half months with his back problem.

“Now Alvaro is really fit, 100 per cent, and ready to have an important final of the season: for Chelsea and then, for him, to have the chance to go and play in the World Cup.”

While Spurs are hoping Kane can make a remarkable comeback, Chelsea also have injury concerns regarding key players.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois faces a late assessment on a hamstring problem picked up before he went away with Belgium, while centre-back Andreas Christensen was sent back to west London by Denmark due to muscle fatigue.

Conte also confirmed he will definitely be without defender David Luiz for at least another three weeks because of a knee issue and that midfielder Ross Barkley will play with the under-23 side this weekend to improve his fitness.


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