Antonio Conte says Tottenham’s World Cup winner Cristian Romero is available to face Aston Villa but warns the ‘difficult period’ starts now as ‘expectation’ will be high after the defender’s role in Argentina’s success
- Cristian Romero is available for Tottenham’s clash with Aston Villa on Sunday
- The defender played in every game to help Argentina lift the World Cup in Qatar
- Conte has warned his player the ‘difficult period’ starts now upon his return
- Romero has been back in training this week after missing the Brentford clash
The 24-year-old centre-back will be available for the New Year’s Day clash after a short break since he helped Argentina lift the World Cup with their victory over France.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, Conte has warned his player that ‘expectation’ will be high following his success in Qatar.
Cristian Romero is back and available for Tottenham’s clash against Aston Villa on Sunday
The Italian said in his pre-match press conference: ‘From what I saw in last few days in training session, I have seen him with great focus and great desire to come back and play for us.
‘For sure I am really happy for him and it is important to have in our team two World Cup champions.
‘But he has to know very well that now starts the more difficult period for him because expectation is going to become high for him. For this reason he has to work even more and continue to work.’
Romero is back after helping Argentina to glory as they lifted the World Cup out in Qatar
During his time with the media, he also revealed that midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur is to have an MRI following an injury he sustained at the World Cup.
The Uruguayan missed Tottenham’s Boxing Day trip to Brentford with an adductor injury.
Conte said: ‘He had an injury in the World Cup and also the timing is more long than my expectation. This question is more for the medical department than me.’
Romero started all but one of Argentina’s games in Qatar, playing the full duration to help Argentina beat France in the final.
Conte has warned Romero that expectations will be high following his part in Argentina’s win
Conte will be hoping that Romero’s return can help their defensive woes after conceding the first goal in each of their last nine games.
He said: ‘For sure it’s strange. A strange situation to concede the first goal and to go down nine games in a row is strange. It’s good our reaction to level the result and many times we were good to win the game.
‘We need to be focused to start the game quickly and show more attention defensively, and not give the opponent more opportunities to score.
‘We spoke to the players. Maybe when you have many games in a row you don’t have the chance to work on the tactical aspect and the mental aspect, maybe you lose something.’