Antonio Conte loves Son Heung-min seething about goal drought – but hints he could drop it against Leicester

ANTONIO CONTE likes the fact that Son Heung-min fumes about his goal drought.

But the Tottenham boss hinted he is ready to drop the misfiring South Korean at home against Leicester on Saturday.

Son Heung-min hasn't scored in any of his eight games for Spurs this season


Son Heung-min hasn’t scored in any of his eight games for Spurs this seasonPhoto credit: Getty
Antonio Conte has promised to rotate his side against Leicester


Antonio Conte has promised to rotate his side against LeicesterPhoto credit: Getty

Son shared last season’s Premier League golden boot with Liverpool’s Mo Salah after scoring 23 times.

But he is yet to hit the bull’s-eye in one competition this season, and has faded in all of Spurs’ eight games.

The 30-year-old missed a shot in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat by Sporting Lisbon and trudged away miserably when he was substituted after 72 minutes.

Conte said: “I think Sonny is certainly not happy because he doesn’t score.

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“He’s a striker and was the league’s top scorer last season.

“It’s normal and I like that he’s a little angry about this situation because it means he wants to try to change it.”

Conte rates Son along with Harry Kane as “one of the top two players” on his side.

But he also doesn’t consider any of his squads undeliverable and seems to have noticed that the shy son has been looking a bit tired lately.

For this reason, Conte faces the dilemma of whether to take the ex-Bayer-Leverkusen star out of the line of fire on Saturday.

The Italian added: “It can happen, especially when you play massive games you can be a bit tired. Also mentally.

“Certainly it can happen that in some games he can’t play from the start, like Harry.

“But only to protect him, give him a chance to rest, take care of his energy and help us win.

“On Saturday we need energy. We finished the game against Sporting with little energy, so I’m a bit angry.

“We lost a lot of energy and then we lost (the game, conceded twice in stoppage time).

“Now I have another day to make the best decision. I will definitely rotate on Saturday.”

Sweden star Dejan Kulusevski is expected to start against Leicester


Sweden star Dejan Kulusevski is expected to start against LeicesterPhoto credit: Reuters

Aside from the lack of goals, other stats show Son’s underperformance compared to last season.

In the 21-22 season of the Premier League he attempted 103 dribbles and completed 51 of them.

He has tried just 12 in his first six league games this season and only completed ONE of them.

That being said, Son averages MORE touches in opponents’ box, more shots per game, more shots inside the box, more sprints and more chances created this season compared to last, suggesting he was simply more wasteful.

Conte added: “If you score a lot of goals, the following season is more difficult because you’re not an outsider.

“But if you don’t score a goal, of course your confidence drops a bit.

“But at the same time, I think that a strong player can handle this situation, face it head on and overcome this situation.”

Should Son be dropped, the man who will take his place is Dejan Kulusevski.

The 22-year-old Swede has been hard-fought out of the starting XI in the last three games but the smart money is on his side if he starts against the Foxes.

Conte’s decision to ditch Kulusevski has weighed on him – which has led to him breaking his usual habit of NOT explaining his selection process to his squad.

The former Chelsea boss revealed: “To be honest, it was difficult for me to drop Decky for three games in a row.

“I don’t like giving explanations to my players because I have to talk to one, to another, and to another in every game.

“But at the same time I spoke to Decky because after you’ve gone on the bench three times in a row I think he deserved to feel like my trust, my trust (in him) was like it always was.

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“It was just a tactical decision because I wanted to make a strong impact with the three forwards Richy (Richarlison), Sonny and Harry.

“Decky is an important player for me. He is in an important moment now because he is physically strong.”

Estimated cast: Lloris; Romero, Dier, Lenglet; Royal, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Sessegnon; Kulusevski, Kane, Richarlison. Antonio Conte loves Son Heung-min seething about goal drought – but hints he could drop it against Leicester


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