Antonio Conte is worried Dejan Kulusevski may not feature for Tottenham before the World Cup after the winger suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury.
Kulusevski has not featured for Spurs since last month's 6-2 thrashing of Leicester City, having sustained the injury while on international duty with Sweden – who failed to qualify for the tournament in Qatar.
While the form of Richarlison initially allowed Spurs to cope with Kulusevski's absence, the Brazil attacker limped out of a 2-0 win over his former club Everton last week, leaving Conte short on forward options.
Speaking ahead of Sunday's clash with Newcastle United, Conte said of Kulusevski: "I think we have to wait a bit of time to see him with us, it is the same for Richarlison.
"For sure, this type of situation creates a big, big difficulty. It's normal. For me, also fingers crossed because at the moment we have Harry [Kane] and Sonny [Son Heung-min] in good health.
"I hope they continue to stay that way, or I'll have to think about putting my shoes on to play, me!
"When you go to play Champions League, especially if you play in the Premier League, you have to know that you're going to have a difficult season for injuries, for massive games, for players who become tired."
We go again this weekend. pic.twitter.com/naiUAfVS88— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 20, 2022
Asked whether he is concerned Kulusevski may not recover before the Premier League breaks for the World Cup next month, Conte said: "Yes, because his recovery was going well and then one day the situation worsened.
"Then when this type of situation happens, you have to restart. You need time, but we have the medical department to face injury situations, and they have to solve the situation in a short period. If you are able to solve the situation in a short period, it means points in the table."
Tottenham have lost two of their last four Premier League games (W2), suffering as many defeats in that spell as they did in their previous 21 matches in the competition.
Wednesday's 2-0 reverse at Manchester United represented the first time Spurs have failed to score in a Premier League game this season, and led Conte to declare the two sides were operating on "different levels".
Asked whether Tottenham needed to sign another creative presence in the January transfer window, Conte said the club would assess their options during the World Cup break.
"Now, we have to try to finish this period, which for us is really tough," the Italian added. "You have important injuries and you have to face the situation in the best possible way.
"Then we'll see. We have to arrive until the last game in November and then with the club we'll see the situation, if we have to do something or we continue in the same way."