Antonio Conte wants to win Premier League with Tottenham but they must start on ‘long path’


Antonio Conte admits he doesn’t like talking about getting into the top four with Tottenham because he wants to instead be discussing winning the Premier League title eventually.

The 52-year-old is used to winning things, having lifted the Premier League trophy with Chelsea and the Serie A title with Juventus, on numerous occasions, and with Inter Milan last season.

Now three months into his time at Tottenham, Conte admits that while he is realistic about where his current club is in the pecking order and the path they must take, he does not like discussing lesser objectives than he’s been used to and believes that first the club’s whole structure must improve to the required level.

“My first target, I repeat, is to try to create a foundation for this team and for this club. The results are later,” he said.

“If you don’t have a good foundation, if you don’t create a good structure, then we speak about nothing. You can only hope. You start the season and you have to hope to win the Carabao Cup, you have to hope to win the FA Cup, you have to hope to win the league. You have to hope for a Champions League place. You have to hope.

“Instead, if you work with a vision, if you work very hard, if you start to build a good foundation, a good structure … then you had hope but [now] also [you have] the possibility the match to win.

“In this moment we have to work a lot. Compared to the past, I think we are now a bit better because we are more complete as a squad but the path in front of us is long and it’s important to understand this, that we want to start to go on this path.

“This is the most important thing for me, to speak about to win the league. I don’t like, if you ask me about the race for the Champions League. My ambition is to win league, not to go to the Champions League.

“My ambition is to be competitive, to fight to win. At this moment I know very well that the situation is different and we are working very hard to try to improve the situation, to reduce the gap and also, the mistakes of the past, to try to make good solutions, to continue to improve.”

He added: “To win and [have] a place in the Champions League, you can dream this, yes, but then you have to prepare the situation, to have this target … not only to start the season and say: ‘Ok, I hope to win this, I hope to win this, I hope to win this.’ Yes, but do you have the structure to do this? Yes, you are ready, or not, we are not ready, but we will do everything to reach the best result.

“For sure, we will do everything, from now until the end of the season to reach the best result for Tottenham, because I think the fans deserve this.

“To see a team in every game give 100 and more per cent, to try to win and give satisfaction to our fans, but it’s important to know that this is a starting point. Honestly, and now we have to go if we want to go. Otherwise there are other solutions.”

With that in mind, Conte was asked whether pushing for fourth place in the table was enough to keep a serial title winner like him content in the job.

“I’m satisfied with my work, I’m satisfied to be here because when I arrived at the training ground I’m happy,” he said. “I’m happy because I have a group of players who are ready to work. I have a group of players who want to improve and want to follow their tactical idea and improve their mentality.

“I’m happy because I know this club has backed me in this aspect. For this reason, I’m satisfied, but it would be very important that we know we have a long path in front of us.

“It’s important to have enthusiasm, all the environment must have enthusiasm because it would be very important especially for me, because if I see enthusiasm and want to stay together from the start until the end, then I’m ready to fight against everything and to bring Tottenham in the best position, to bring Tottenham where Tottenham deserves.

“It’s important to create and that there is the right atmosphere. I know very well that our fans can be disappointed for many reasons, but I can tell them that we are working very hard to try to build a good future.

“We know which is the reality, I understand the disappointment of our fans because for many years we didn’t win, but at the same time, it’s important to create a unity and to keep the right enthusiasm and to try to build together something important for this club and for Tottenham, for the future.

“I express this to the fans and I don’t like to ask this, but I ask for their patience, we need patience and for sure we are started to go and we want build something important.”

Conte asked for a central midfielder from the club in the January transfer window and he received one in 24-year-old Uruguayan Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus, as well as another player from his old club in 21-year-old attacking midfielder Dejan Kulusevski.

He acknowledged that the profile of the players fitted the club and while he believes that aren’t ready-made title winners – although Bentancur did win three Serie A titles with Juventus – he was happy with their arrival and both are players he can continue to improve.

“I think that we have just started in this transfer market and with the options available to try to sign players with the right characteristics for his project,” he said.

“I can tell you this, and you know very well, in January the options are not so many but at the same time I think that we made two good signings with Bentancur and Kulusevski, with, I repeat the philosophy of the club because the philosophy of the club is to sign young players, talented players with skills and to develop them.

“To improve them in the future no, to become an important player? But you know that you need time and you don’t buy players at 27, 28 years old and players that they have already 40 games in the Champions League, played 100 games and won a lot of titles.

“You are buying young players and you need time but for sure two good signings and this is the philosophy. We want to develop this philosophy of the club but we need time and patience and this must be very clear because you can’t build important situations in two, three months, one year you need time and patience for this reason.

“I said this if you remember also three months ago and I’m repeating the same but in January I think two good signings for us and they can help us for the second part of the season.”

One man who has come under fire from some Spurs fans is managing director of football Fabio Paratici, with some of his summer signings struggling and one of them, £25m Bryan Gil, loaned to Valencia on deadline day, just six months after arriving at the club.



Antonio Conte has been speaking about the transfer window
Antonio Conte has been speaking about the transfer window

Conte had hinted earlier to football.london that Tottenham’s recruitment had not taken into account every aspect of whether a player will be suited to the Premier League.

When asked about Paratici, who he worked with for a spell at Juventus, Conte did not speak directly about his compatriot but instead about the Premier League and the recruitment required.

“As I said, this league, the level is very high. If you compare this league with other leagues, you play another sport here,” he said.

“For this reason, when you go to sign new players, you have to consider many aspects. Not only if he kicks well or is good in one vs one. Then, a good player has to have this characteristics, but at the same time when you come to play in England, it’s important to match the quality with the good physical characteristics.

“This is very important because the intensity in this league is very high. Before to sign a player for this league, it’s important to consider many, many characteristics.”

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He added: “I don’t like to speak about the past. For me, my experience has started three months ago here and I’m trying to bring my vision, to give my knowledge to this club to try to improve.

“In the past, in my experience, I have built important structures and important teams that have lasted over time also without me. It means that maybe I have some knowledge that can help the club. I think the club wanted me also for this reason.

“For now, it’s not important the past. It’s important to look forward, to move on, the transfer market has finished. Now we are more complete than before and we have a second part of the season, the players that went on loan we hope play and play well and to continue to be good players.

“But it’s important for us now to move on and give everything in the second part of the season to get the best possible result in every competition we are going to play.

“Tomorrow, we are going to play in the FA Cup. We know that we played against really strong team, a good team. In the table we are around the same position.

“It means they are good and then there is the league. We have to try to get the best possible result. In my mind, I would like to win every game and I hope this happens.”





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