Tottenham players must learn to fight like Conte after sneaky surrender at Chelsea

Conte offered a serious assessment of Spurs after their 2–0 defeat in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final, describing them as a mediocre side and warning supporters of a long and bumpy road ahead.

The head coach delivered his post-match comments with specific consideration, but deep down one suspected he was making a humiliating return to Chelsea, which reaffirmed his belief in a rift between the two clubs.

“This game confirmed what I thought about the difference between the teams but we need to be patient because there is a lot [work] To do in many aspects,” he said. “Honestly, I think Tottenham’s level has fallen. A lot has fallen.”

“We fought in every game since I was in charge,” he said. “We have to be realistic. We have to know that it will be difficult to get three points this season.”

Conte is nothing if not dramatic – at the press conference, on the touchline – and his persistent pessimism about the prospect of Spurs winning silverware or returning to the top four has sometimes appeared exaggerated during an encouraging start to eight league games without a loss. gives.

Last night’s performance, however, felt more instructive than the victories over Leeds, Brentford, Norwich, Crystal Palace and Watford, and a truer reflection of Spurs’ level than the pulsating 2-2 draw with Liverpool, when players from both sides were missing.

Spurs barely put a glove on their hosts in the first half, as their own goal from Kai Havertz and a calamitous Ben Davies kept Chelsea in control.

Conte’s side improved after the hiatus, and continued to maintain hope of reaching the final, but the Blues were comfortable holding him at arm’s length.


The Italian suggests that Spurs fought “every game” and this should probably be interpreted as “struggling to control every game for 90 minutes”, but their last attempt was to break Southampton and Watford. Warning signs are given, including attempts. Two league games.

Conte was also candid when asked how long it would take for Spurs to return to Chelsea level, predicting that it would likely be more than a year.

“Believe me, we need so much time before [repair] situation,” he said. “If we think, with the transfer window in January, we resolve the situation, [it’s] not true.”

If his comments are to be taken at face value rather than interpreted as a message to the club or his squad, they raise interesting questions.

The 52-year-old is not a project coach and is used to winning and winning quickly. In his last three club roles with Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan, Conte won the title within two seasons, but believes Spurs will be his first assignment of an entirely different nature.

Conte’s comments were primarily felt as a passionate appeal to fans to be patient.

Hearing him last night, you wondered whether he was aware of the scale of the task when he was appointed or whether he had signed an 18-month contract assuming Spurs could challenge for the title next season.

If Conte is correct about the deadline, he will need a new deal before completing his rebuild, while it could be hard to persuade Harry Kane to extend his contract if Spurs is indeed one more round. are starting.

Conte’s comments were felt primarily as a passionate appeal aimed at the club’s supporters to stay patient and outgoing, but there is also the issue of how they will be received by the club and its squad.

While fans will react favorably to their manager’s fury at being away from top clubs so far, Conte’s assessment of his squad runs the risk of alienating their owners and some players, especially the head coach arguably last night’s were not innocent of the defeat.

His decision to pick Matt Doherty at left wing-back backfired, while the Italian’s conservative XI was predictably flat, and chaotic at the back. Clearly, it’s not about Conte, though.


For Spurs, the defeat bore the familiar hallmarks of past big-game surrenders – unfocused starts, carelessly conceded starting goals, no-shows from senior players – and the club has long acknowledged mediocrity. .

Their decline over the past two to three years has been quite rapid and, while exaggerated in parts, there was nothing about Conte’s assessment of the club that felt unfair.

Spurs should take encouragement from having a manager who will not accept failure and is ready to challenge the club and its players to rise to the top.

It is up to them to answer.