Antonio Conte has long said that this Tottenham Hotspur team is a long term project, and that Spurs need time to fully internalize his tactics and methods. Conte joined Spurs in the middle of the season and has had to try and instill a new way of playing at a new club without the benefit of a preseason with which to really work with his players.
Now, after today’s comprehensive 5-0 win over Everton at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Conte says he’s finally starting to see his ideas manifest. Speaking to the press after the match, Conte talked not only about his team’s play, but also the benefits to having a full week with which to prepare his team for additional games — one of the benefits of dropping out of all other competitions but the Premier League.
“The problem when we have to prepare to play in two or three days is not simple. Don’t forget that with this team I didn’t start the season. I haven’t had the possibility to have one month to work with the team in pre-season and try to work and instil my idea of football. We did this playing games, important games for three points.
“I think that I am seeing my work. I am seeing what we are working on every day, what we are trying in this situation where I’m trying to improve them.
“Now after four and a half months, I’m starting to see what we are working on. For me it’s a pleasure when the players enjoy to play football, not only to win but at the same time to find the solutions that we find during the training sessions.
“For sure we can improve and we have a lot of space for improvement but now I said to the players that we’ve reached a good level and for this reason now it’s right to take the responsibility and now with United, Arsenal, West Ham and the other teams that want to fight for the top four we have to go into the situation and get the best.”
Spurs have struggled over the past month or so, with Spurs at one point losing four straight matches and taking just three points from 15 available. Now, Spurs have won three of its last four in the Premier League, and while Spurs are still outsiders for a top four position, tonight’s win has given them the confidence that they still have a puncher’s chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
“In January two players made us more complete. I think that we can fight. We can fight for this target. It’s important to have this ambition and it’s not right to hide our ambition and ok we’ll see what happens.
“We’ll try to do everything and at the end we’ll see what happens. Now we have only 12 games to play, not a trophy to play for. For this reason it’s right to take the responsibility, me, myself, I have to be the first.
You know I don’t like to speak about ambition and reaching a place in the Champions League because I like to play to win the league and win trophies, but in this situation this could be our Champions League, our Premier League title if we are able to reach fourth place.
That starts this Saturday with a trip to Old Trafford to play Manchester United.