Every word Antonio Conte said on that Hojbjerg video, Kane, injury latest and his Sessegnon hope


What the latest team news?

About Skipp and Tanganga, they’re recovering but they are still not ready for the game against Burnley.

About Sergio [Reguilon], at yesterday’s training session, he wasn’t present but we’ll see today. I think the situation is the same as the last game but we hope Skipp, Tanganga, Sergio recover very soon because we need all of them.

You said this is the best group you’ve coached, can good people also be winners?

I said this but I think this is not the first time I said this. When I say that I’m enjoying to work in Tottenham with these players it means that I’m finding a lot of availability of these players to work, to improve, to have more football knowledge. They are very open. And honestly, it’s not certain that in every team this type of situation can happen.

Sometimes you find players who want to stay in their comfortable zone, saying ,’OK I Had my career and I don’t want to prove [anything] and follow you’. It can happen. Instead, I’ve found a group of players with a great will and desire to work and improve. For this reason, I said this is the type of players that I enjoyed most to work with.

Surely there is a lot of space for improvement for our team. We have many young players. To see a good connection between them and also with my staff and with my coaches is good. It makes me happy because I come to the training ground with a smile because I know I stay two to three hours with people who want to work seriously and follow a path to improve the level and try to go another step.

What do you make of the concussion protocols?

Yeah. I follow this topic, especially concussion injuries. We have to pay great attention but you know very well that football is an impact sport. In the past and also the present, I remember very well in my career that I twice had concussion during a game. For sure when this happens we have to pay great attention, stop the game, go straight to the medical staff and understand the situation.

In my opinion we have to pay great attention but at the same time we have to pay attention when there is a serious problem. But not to give the opportunity to the player to exploit this situation to waste time. Otherwise its not good. I see this type of situation. We’re talking about a serious situation, not one you can exploit in your head to lose time. Or you become a cheater.

How important is it to have your experienced players in Hugo Lloris and Harry Kane being on top form to win matches?

I remember very well about this question there is a sporting director in Italy that is my friend who’s name is Pantaleo Corvino that he says: “You can make mistake about your wife but not about the striker”.

You understand? For me that is the best quote that I understand in football, no? You can make a mistake about your wife but not mistakes about your striker. To build a team. We are talking about two good players, two important players for us (Lloris and Kane), also the players with more experience.

I continue to say that to have a competitive team it’s important also to match experienced players with young players because when you have players with experience, the young players learn a lot. We are lucky because in our team we have these two players that for sure are top, top top players.

What are you expecting from Burnley?

My point of view maybe it’s the worst period to play against them because in the last period they have had fantastic results and played a good game. They drew with Manchester United, and away at Arsenal, and they beat Brighton 3-0.

They lost only 1-0 against Liverpool but the game was in the balance. For sure, for us they will be a really tough team, we have to know this. It’s never easy to play against Burnley and they have a good manager that is showing in these years that his managing is very very good and maybe he could deserve something more.

I appreciate his job and what he’s doing with Burnley. Remember one month ago many people said Burnley were relegated, but I’m sure they can save this season and I think Burnley are doing a fantastic job.

How do you get consistency from your team?

The consistency is fundamental for the team, and it can be very important for us, the game against City, because in this game we have worked very hard. The whole team with the ball, and without the ball because you can see that the team is involved totally. At the same time we showed solidity because we defended very well with the whole team.

Maybe I think in the past we lost a bit of this priority and sometimes we were too confident without the ball to defend only with six or seven players, but I think if you want to have a good result at the end of the season to stay there and see what happen we have to continue to be solid and work together with the ball and without the ball.

You can see it with Harry Kane – he was always linking with the team defensively and then with the ball he scored two goals, he had another opportunity to score four goals and it means that if you are organised in both phases then you have the best possibility to win the game, to get three points.

What does life getting back to normal do for your players?

I think to have a normal situation is good for everybody. We come back to have a normal life. In two years it was very difficult for everybody with many restrictions. To come here and have every day a Covid test, sometimes two or three times. At the same time this type of situation can give the possibility to improve the friendship.

To stay together, not only in the training ground, but also outside. In life it is good for everybody to come back and have a normal life because we have suffered a lot. Now we are happy because we are coming back to normality and it is good for everyone.

Is Harry Kane a doubt?

No. He had a hit in his back but he has to play! If he has one leg he has to play. Harry knows very well the importance he has on the squad for his personality, for his experience. But he is good. I am joking, I don’t force a player if he is injured to play. I only say to tell you the importance of the player. He is good, he is ready.

How important was Sessegnon’s performance at City?

Sess in my vision has all the possibility to become an important player. First of all he is young and has in front of him a lot of years. He is strong physically and fast, has a good engine, a resilience. He has good quality. Sometimes I think he feels a bit of pressure. But with me he played important games, against Liverpool, against Chelsea, against City. It means I trust him. If you remember in the last game I changed the system, but only for this I took him off after 30 minutes.

I explained it was a tactical situation. But we are talking about another player that if he works and you have patience to work with him he is another player that can become and important player, also for England, the national team. But the first person that has to be convinced is himself. I trust him in the same way I trust all the players.



Antonio Conte during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium
Antonio Conte during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium

There’s a video circulating of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and you on the pitch after the game, can you explain exactly what happened in that situation?

Yeah, I have seen the video because Anthony [Spurs’ press officer] showed me. For sure I was celebrating with all my players. He didn’t see me, but then we have recovered in the dressing room because we celebrated with him. We celebrated with him and all the players.

Pierre is another important player for us, he’s young but he’s more experienced that others and he’s a good player.

Now with Bentancur we have implemented the midfielders, Bentancur, Winksy is another player that I can count on, and Skipp.

We have to continue to work. To work and to know that we need a bit of time and patience. I know and I am seeing that we are improving in many aspects.

Then have to continue to improve in these aspects. Then to be available because the squad is now more complete than before with Kulusevski and Bentancur.

I have also the possibility, if all the players are available, to make some rotation to give a bit of rest which the players need, especially the midfielders.

For example the midfielders against Manchester City, Pierre and Rodrigo, they put in a fantastic performance, they ran a lot and the effort was top. We have to see if they recover very well otherwise I will have to make rotation because we have many games in a row in a few days and we have to try in every moment to find the best solution.

What makes Kane and Son so special as a partnership?

Sonny and Kane, I always say that we are talking about two players that are very good, at an important level.

My expectation when you have these two players are higher than other players. I think Sonny played a bit but then had a serious injury and to lose him for one month and a half wasn’t good for us.

Also because when you recover you need a bit of time to be fit, to have a good form. Now he’s fit, Sonny and I repeat he’s an important player for us.

There’s a good connection between him and Harry but also don’t forget that Lucas Moura is an important player and now we have Dejan, Deki Kulusevski. He is young but he’s ready for this league.

You have seen in a tough game that he can give us a lot this season. Then there is also Steven Bergwijn. He had a little problem before the game against Manchester City in his calf and now he has recovered. We have many games ahead and we will need all these players.

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You put a video on Instagram laughing about counter-attacks, can you expand on that and whether it’s an unfair characterisation of your team and how they played on Saturday?

I think that sometimes, especially when you watch the game and you see there’s a lot of space in front of you and you think ‘oh but this is a counter attack’.

Instead you start the action from the goalkeeper or from your defenders. If you keep the line, the defensive line, up and you go to press and then you find the way to overcome the pressure, for sure, you earn this space, but you work to earn this space, not a counter-attack.

Otherwise it’s very, very simple. Sometimes in the past, when I was at Inter Milan, I wanted to show what we do because many times, a lot of times, it depends on our work. What we do during the game, our plan, what we prepare. Sometimes as well I think it’s good also to improve the football knowledge of the people who love football.





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