Tottenham was trounced 2-0 at home by Aston Villa and booed off by their fans; the loss drops them to fifth in the Premier League; Conte dubbed his team’s championship talk earlier this season ‘crazy,’ and thinks they need significant players every season to get there. After Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa, Antonio Conte lashed out at the “crazy” expectations around his team, saying the club has to recruit two players for £50-70 million per season if they are to become real championship challengers.
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Spurs lost their fourth Premier League game in seven on a bleak New Year’s Day at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, losing more than one goal in a seventh straight game for the first time since 1988. Tottenham now sits in fifth place in the league, 13 points behind leaders and local rivals Arsenal, who have a game in hand.
Conte came out fighting after the game, defending Spurs’ performance despite the fact that they only had six shots on goal in the whole 90 minutes and implying that he needed more assistance in the transfer market if they are to contend for major accolades. I continue to emphasize that last season we produced a miracle,” he remarked in his news conference of their fourth-place finish last season.
What happened? Because we only played one tournament with 12 or 13 players who had not been injured in the previous 15 games.” We played every game with the greatest players since we only played in the league. Remember that with three games remaining, Arsenal was four points ahead of us – and that we ended 20 points behind Manchester City.”
We performed a miracle, but I was aware of the position and was quite open with the club about what was required to become championship challengers. I remember very well in the summer when people spoke about Tottenham as championship candidates, but in my experience, it was a little weird to see this,” he said.
To become championship contenders and a squad ready to battle to win anything, you need to have a good foundation, which means having 14 or 15 strong players, with talent, and other young players to grow. Every season, you may add two players for £50 million, £60 million, or £70 million. In this case, it signifies you’re bringing in key players who will help your team’s quality and level. But, gentlemen, this is a process. “This is a procedure.”
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Spurs spent £172 million on permanent players Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Cristian Romero, Ivan Perisic, Clement Lenglet, Djed Spence, and Fraser Forster this summer, but Conte insists he is also attempting to develop a winning mentality at the club. People who believe you come and win,” he remarked. “This may happen to a squad that has a history of winning. However, if you are not accustomed to it, it implies that you must create the circumstance.
As a result, you need time and patience. I understand why fans are dissatisfied since they may claim to have waited a long time. I understand. But here’s the deal: if you want the truth, I’ll tell you the truth. When asked whether he believes Tottenham supporters have unreasonable expectations of their club, Conte said, “I don’t have to worry about what the expectations are. I am aware of the truth. I am the coach, I live the club every day, I know the circumstances, and I know the vision of the club. The club is fully aware of my feelings regarding the matter.
The problem was obvious. I’m still working to strengthen the club, to lay a strong basis, and then to grow. I was quite clear with the club at the outset of the season. ‘Okay, we can be competitive to win, but strive to continue to develop in a manner that we can accomplish it,’ I added. Because, also, you have to recognize there are teams that can spend £200m, £300m, and then other clubs who have other [plans]. You must adhere to other [policies]. But it needs to be very apparent to people because otherwise, we build an expectation, and it’s not good for the atmosphere to generate expectations that aren’t practical at the time.”
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Conte stated that Spurs must now return to the transfer market and “purchase strong” in order for him to continue the team’s growth and prevent a repeat of their collapse. I’ve been saying this from the beginning of the season, but I was anticipating this moment,” he continued. “Now we have to purchase big, big. Because, when we are there, in this league, things may change rapidly. I talked also to my players and I said, the expectation is to progress, and to fight because from the start to the finish, the journey is not that long, you can fall rapidly if you are not prepared and modest.
Whether you ask me if I’m afraid, I’m not. I believe in my job and in my players. But don’t ask me about things I can’t guarantee to you since this is mere to create illusions and to provide dreams. But for the time being, you must remain practical. Because if you are realistic and know the issue, you will tackle the problem correctly.” Defending his side’s showing against Villa, despite the outcome, Conte said: “About the performance, I’m not dissatisfied, because the performance was a good performance.
From the beginning to the conclusion, I saw the correct devotion, determination, and desire to win the three points, duels, and race. I think football is odd. We controlled the game in the first half, even if we didn’t generate many scoring opportunities since we encountered a side who defended really deep, with 11 players. Then in the second half, we began in the same fashion, and then it occurred that we surrendered another goal. We have been unlucky with the goals we have conceded this season. This goal altered the scenario, the players’ feelings, and their confidence. They didn’t think they deserved to be 1-0 down after a strong first-half performance.
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Conte’s message to Spurs fans: “I’ve never claimed we couldn’t be competitive; we’re just getting started.” Conte told Sky Sports: “The message is always the same [to the fans]: I have never talked about our squad being competitive, fighting to win this season. From the start of the season I say we are constructing, we are building, we are trying to establish a good foundation because if you want to become a championship contender and you want to attempt to win anything throughout the season, you need to have solid foundations.
Solid foundations imply you need to have your team, your squad, 13, 14 guys strong, and then every year to put one, two significant players to increase the quality. As a result, it implies investing £60m, £70m, or £80m. You can boost the quality this way. Otherwise, if you go every season without spending. Right now, we have to lay that firm basis. We’ll need 13, 14 guys. We’re attempting to build this and then start adding significant players, not just regular players, every season. Normal players are insignificant.
We need players who can make a difference. Otherwise, you must go to nurture a young player, then wait, and be patient. This is the current scenario. In my life, I always express the truth. I don’t want to conjure up any illusions. The club is well aware of what I believe, and they believe the same. Maybe it’s a good idea to get this word out via the media because someone could believe we’re a championship contender.
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