Antonio Conte needs to instil “aggressiveness” in his squad in order to transform “fragile” Tottenham into a force to be reckoned with, according to Louis Saha.
The Italian, who has won major honours with the likes of Inter, Juventus and Chelsea, admitted he was facing the “biggest challenge” of his career at Spurs.
He has inherited a side in decline, with last season’s seventh-placed finish their lowest since 2008-09.
After the failed reign of Jose Mourinho and the ill-fated stint of Nuno Espirito Santo, it is Conte’s job to revive Tottenham’s fortunes, with a return of 10 points from his first four Premier League games hinting at a brighter future to come.
But a chastening loss to Slovenian minnows Mura in the Conference League – a competition in which Spurs’ fate remains unknown amid a coronavirus-enforced cancellation of their final group match against Rennes – underlined the frailties still present.
6 – Tottenham are the first team since Opta have Premier League shot data (from 2003-04) to go six straight halves of play in the competition without managing a single shot on target (2nd half v West Ham, both halves v Man Utd & Everton, 1st half v Leeds today). Lacklustre. pic.twitter.com/9XyEY4CMGE
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 21, 2021
And Saha, who spent a brief spell at Spurs in 2012, outlined the scale task Conte had taken on.
“I think that there are still a lot of things to be done in Tottenham. It’s a bit similar to Arsenal,” the former Manchester United forward told Stats Perform.
“They are fragile in terms of the squad. They are fragile in terms of consistency, whoever the manager.
“The manager is not playing. He can give you aggressiveness. But if the players themselves are not aggressive, you can’t change them. That’s their nature.
“Sometimes…you have great players, but they are too nice in some way. And they do not provide what you need to win tough games.
“I’m not saying that they need to be fighters. But I remember, for example, I was playing with Carlos Tevez, with [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy, with [Wayne] Rooney and we were all different, but I felt that they were very aggressive and sometimes I see the players some teams have, when you play away, you need that type of player.
“I don’t know if there are enough players like that in such a squad. I’m not trying to compare, but I think it’s an indication.”
Next up for Conte’s side, who are seventh but only three points outside the top four with two games in hand, is Thursday’s trip to Leicester City.