Antonio Conte was absent as Tottenham hosted Manchester City on Sunday, with the visitors surprisingly only naming Kevin De Bruyne as a substitute.
Spurs head coach Conte had his gallbladder removed on Wednesday, but assistant Cristian Stellini said on Friday there was a possibility the former Juventus and Italy boss would be swiftly back to work.
That did not come to pass, meaning Stellini stepped in to lead the team, and captain Hugo Lloris was confident Tottenham could still be competitive in the Premier League clash with Pep Guardiola's title hunters.
Lloris told Sky Sports: "We had the full week to prepare for the game. Obviously we missed our manager, but the coaching staff provided the best to the players to prepare as well as we can for this big game.
"I think at the moment he's at home in Turin. I don't know what the plan is in the changing room, but we had a few words yesterday at the Lodge [Tottenham's training ground].
"It belongs to the players and all the staff to take the responsibility, to give even a bit more from ourselves to make a good performance."
Stay playmaker De Bruyne was left on the bench in what Guardiola confirmed was a tactical move as he selected a 4-4-2 shape, with a midfield of Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Rodrigo and Jack Grealish supporting strikers Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland.
City were without Phil Foden due to illness, Guardiola added.
These teams met last month, when Tottenham led 2-0 at half-time but wound up suffering a 4-2 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane came into the game on 199 career goals in the Premier League, and level with Jimmy Greaves as Spurs' all-time record scorer.
???? ????— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 5, 2023
XI | Ederson, Lewis, Walker (C), Akanji, Ake, Rodrigo, Bernardo, Mahrez, Grealish, Alvarez, Haaland
SUBS | Ortega Moreno, Dias, Phillips, Gundogan, Laporte, De Bruyne, Gomez, Perrone, Palmer#ManCity | @HaysWorldwide pic.twitter.com/UD0PGHaxD9