Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has revealed he visited Buckingham Palace on Friday to pay his own respects to the Queen, but is happy the bulk of the football will now take place this week.
Her Majesty’s death on Thursday has seen all of last weekend’s domestic football matches cancelled, including Spurs’ trip to Manchester City. However , European games will be played in the coming days and seven of the Premier League games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday will take place .
Tottenham host Leicester at the weekend but first face Sporting Lisbon in their second Champions League game of the season to finish top of Group D.
Telling reporters in Lisbon about the impact of the Queen’s death on everyone at the club, Conte said: “What has happened in England in the last few days is something extraordinary.
“Unfortunately, the Queen has passed away. To be honest, on Thursday we were all sad because we are talking about a person who did an excellent job for this country. I think there’s a lot of mourning in the country right now for that.
“I lived that atmosphere in London. And on Friday I went to Buckingham Palace like a normal person because I am a normal person! I did it with a hat to live this situation because I’m sure we will remember it for the rest of our lives.
“I would like to offer my condolences from myself, from the club, from the players to the royal family. Then football has to go on and we will, but I think the Premier League made an important decision to stop football and show respect for the Queen’s death.
“We are talking about a situation that will find it in the history of the future. Staying here in this moment and living this moment here is certainly a sad moment but at the same time it is a special moment because we are talking about the Queen’s death.
“She was 96 years old and to be honest it was very hard for me to believe that she was dead because you think the queen was immortal. Living this situation in London, in this particular moment, I am sure I will keep in my heart and in my mind for the rest of my life.”
Conte was joined at his press conference by Eric Dier, who grew up in Portugal and played for Sporting before joining Tottenham in 2014.
The centre-back said through a translator: “It’s very special for me to be back. I’ve spent a long time here at Sporting and it took me some time to come back.
“I’d rather play another team in Portugal but there’s nothing we can do about it and I’m very happy to be here.”
Dier’s fine form under Conte has contributed to his being called back by England boss Gareth Southgate for this month’s games against Italy and Germany.
The defender hasn’t represented his country for almost two years but he avoided talk of a return to the Three Lions setup, instead backing ex-Spurs youngster Marcus Edwards to meddle in Southgate’s plans if he does his good form at Sporting continues.
“I am satisfied with the start of the season. For me there is always room for improvement and I try my best to continue to do so,” said Dier.
“To be honest I don’t think about anything other than the game tomorrow and trying to play well for Tottenham.”
On Edwards, Dier added: “Well, it’s up to him. I think he’s a very talented player, he’s very strong and yes it would be great if he could make the national team. I mean, if he keeps developing like that, he could make the national team.”
Enfield-born Edwards left Tottenham in 2019 and was signed by Sporting in January after a successful spell at Vitoria Guimaraes.
The former England Under-21 international has continued to impress in Lisbon.
Sporting director Ruben Amorim said: “I think Marcus is a very talented player.
“He’s got all the talent and he can get a lot better and get into the England team. He’s becoming more consistent, but needs to focus more on training and everything around it.
“Football isn’t just about the Sunday games, it’s everything in between, but I have a lot of trust in it. I know he can grow a lot and get promoted to the national team.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/antonio-conte-buckingham-palace-eric-dier-manchester-city-sporting-lisbon-b2165785.html Antonio Conte visited Buckingham Palace to pay his respects to the Queen