Conte coming to terms with ´biggest challenge´ of his career at Tottenham

Antonio Conte accepts turning Tottenham into a successful team like his previous Chelsea and Inter sides will be the “biggest challenge” of his career.

Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo last month following a disappointing run of three defeats in four, culminating in a 3-0 home loss to a Manchester United side who had been embarrassed by Liverpool the previous weekend.

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The Italian had been targeted in pre-season when Nuno – initially way down Spurs’ managerial shortlist – was appointed, with Daniel Levy having to wait to get his man.

Results have not improved spectacularly since Conte arrived. They scraped a 3-2 win over Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League before a 0-0 draw with Everton and then a 2-1 defeat of Leeds United.

Most recently, a week ago, Spurs suffered a humiliating 2-1 loss to Slovenian side Mura, among the smallest clubs in the Europa Conference League.

Brentford visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday with Spurs ninth in the Premier League, but Conte’s men do have two games in hand on fourth-placed West Ham, who are five points ahead on 24.

Conte is not taking anything for granted, however, as he recognises transforming Spurs into title challengers is going to be rather trickier than at his past two clubs.

“Biggest challenge, yes. But as I said in Mura, I’m not scared about this,” he told reporters. “I have a lot of enthusiasm.

“When I arrived here, I enjoyed the situation. I enjoy working with the players, I enjoy speaking with the club, I enjoy creating a good base.

“Now the most important thing is this – to create a good base and then to build something important.

“We need a bit of time but I’m sure we can improve a lot and give satisfaction to our fans. But this is a big challenge for me. This is a big challenge for the club. This is a big challenge for the players. For everybody.”

When Conte guided Chelsea to the 2016-17 Premier League title, Spurs were the only team within 10 points of them as Mauricio Pochettino’s side finished second.

Spurs followed that up with third and fourth-placed finishes, but they have not ended a season in the top four in either of the two campaigns since.

Conte looked back to the side that challenged his Chelsea and suggested the reason for the club failing to maintain that standard is simply down to the squad passing its peak and ushering in an era of transition.

“The club, in the last years, has been slipping,” he continued. “If I compare Tottenham to when I was in Chelsea, Tottenham was very, very competitive, was a really, really strong team.

“And I think that to lose important players or someone became old and then to have a change of generation, I think Tottenham now is paying a bit of this.

“Now we have to create, to start again, to think that we have to create a solid base and then to build, because if we don’t have a solid base, it’s impossible to build something important.

“I think that now is the right moment to create a solid base and then to start to build. To come back to fight for something important as [in] the past. I think it must be our target, but this target has to involve all – the club, the players. I think also our fans.

“I understand that sometimes [fans] lose their patience but I repeat I am here to put myself totally for Tottenham and to work 24 hours for this club because this a big challenge for me – maybe the best, big challenge, about the difficulty, the position that we are starting [from].”

The omens are not great for Spurs ahead of Brentford’s visit, with Tottenham having lost each of their past five Premier League London derby matches, last losing more consecutively between March 2003 and January 2004 (six).

Similarly, Conte has a win percentage of just 44 per cent in London derbies (P16 W7 D3 L6), compared to 73 per cent in games against teams not from London.

Source of the article

Author: XenBet