Antonio Conte insisted Tottenham have room for improvement if they are to enjoy future success after his side edged past Watford.
Spurs have yet to lose in eight Premier League games under Conte, extending the longest unbeaten start by a Tottenham manager in league competition.
It seemed for large parts on Saturday that Spurs would have to settle for consecutive draws as Daniel Bachmann repeatedly thwarted the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min at Vicarage Road.
However, Davinson Sanchez headed home Spurs’ latest ever winning Premier League goal since Opta began recording data (95:45) as he rose the highest to seal all three points for the visitors in a 1-0 win.
Victory over Claudio Ranieri’s struggling side moves Spurs within two points of fourth-placed Arsenal, who have played two games more, but Conte still wants more from his side.
He told Sky Sports: “It is important to get three points. We know we have to suffer to get points. We are building a team to try to be competitive in the future but we know we have to be competitive in this season too.
“It is important to be humble, to fight and to suffer. I think everything can improve.
“It was difficult because we didn’t score but created chances and when you find an opponent who is well organised it is not simple.
“But when you score the game changes and you find spaces to attack. I am happy with the commitment and effort from the players. We were a bit tired but I wish the world to my friend Claudio Ranieri the best because [Watford] deserve something.”
Conte has never lost a Premier League match against an Italian manager (W5 D1), with three wins to his name against Ranieri.
The former Inter head coach expressed his satisfaction with the performance of his side as he commented on how difficult the busy festive period has been.
He added to BBC’s Match of the Day: “To play so many games in a few days is not easy. This was the fifth game in 13 days and if you think we played almost with the same players, this period is busy but at the same time we try to get a result because it is very important, three points is very important.
“We have to improve the last pass, in the first half it was 29 crosses and no goals, it is important for us to improve the quality in the last pass because that gives you the possibility to score.”
Before the Watford clash, Conte called for patience as he warned Champions League football will not be sealed with a couple of months of work and one transfer window.
But Conte feels the best way for Spurs to succeed in January is to keep playing the way they are doing, as opposed to focusing on various needs in the transfer market.
“Honestly, when Tottenham put me in charge, I asked for time to make my evaluation about the squad, now I did and for sure we will have a meeting with the club,” he continued.
“It is important always to be honest, to understand where we are at in this moment, which is our point of start and then I will see. January is not simple, but maybe we will see what happens.
“We have to continue to work in this way and these players are giving me everything, great commitment and trust – the best buy in January is to continue this way. Then we will see what are our intentions are.”