Every word Conte said on what he told Harry Kane, Kulusevski, Reguilon injury and top four



You said the international break came at a bad time for your side, do you think differently now?

(Laughs) But for sure what I said to my players was that we finished in a fantastic way and we have to start in the same way. I asked this because don’t forget we were enjoying the way we were playing before the international break.

Today I’m very happy because I have seen a strong team, despite the difficulty, don’t forget to play against Newcastle, it’s not easy. Their plan was very clear, to stay, to defend very deep and exploit players like Saint-Maximin and Fraser for the counter-attacks.

We were 1-0 down and it is another positive thing that I have seen, because despite this I have seen my team focused, with calm, with patience and with resilience. We have drawn 1-1 and then in the second half, it was good to score the second goal because then Newcastle was forced to play and concede a bit of space.

READ MORE: Spurs player ratings: Super Son, dynamic Doherty, Kane and Kulusevski create, Bentancur shines

To score five goals is good for us. It’s not the first time and in the last period we are creating many chances to score. We are scoring a lot. I am enjoying seeing my team play in this way because I’m seeing great improvement in many aspects, tactical and technical and the mentality.

Now we have to continue in this way. I’m happy for the players because when they work hard you want to see the result of your work. Then I think the players they are enjoying to play in this way and also to dominate the game, to create all these situations to win the game.

You said before that to finish in the top four would be a miracle. You’re now in fourth place, do you believe in miracles?

But I was always very honest with the media and also with the club, but also with the players. In November when I arrived I found one type of situation and at that time it was difficult then to believe to be in the race now for the Champions League. Usually when you change manager during the season it is because there are difficulties and for sure I found a situation to improve. I was very clear with the media from the first moment I spoke to you.

But now, I think in the last period I was clear that I have seen my team, it’s now in the race because I have seen great improvement. If the player brings himself to another level it means that the team is going to be stronger than before.

For sure we know very well that in this race there are other teams that maybe in this moment they have an advantage. I think Arsenal have to play two games but don’t forget United with an amazing squad, don’t forget West Ham and also Wolverhampton is having a fantastic season and this league is very difficult.

But I’m happy because hard work is paying off and this is very important for the players because the players I have found a group of players that have given me great availability, great commitment, great behaviour and they give me credit. They give me credit, for my past I think, for my career, but I think that now they understand that this is the right way. They trust in me and I trust in them.

You’ve got your wing-backs scoring and setting up goals, how pleasing is it to see your style of play really coming through?

But now for sure you can see a team that has specific characteristics and you can recognise your football. For this reason I said that we are in the race to try and take a place in the Champions League. At this moment the team is a team with an idea of football. Every single player knows very well what happens during the game and what they have to do.

The players that came in today for example we lost on Friday Reguilon for an injury in his knee and we have found the solution to play with Matthew [Doherty] on the left and Emerson on the right. Great performance for both. It means there is great work behind on the tactical aspect and physical aspect as you can see this team has big intensity from start until the end.

I have great staff behind me that work with the players and now we have to be happy, also tomorrow but then from Tuesday when we start to work we think an important game against Aston Villa. It won’t be easy to go there and take a good result but we have eight games, eight finals for us, and every games it will be very important to get points and continue to dream to finish in the Champions League this season.

How pleasing is it to see other players coming in and giving you those difficult selection decisions?

When you see the whole team, the whole squad, so very involved in this project this makes me proud. It means they believe in work and despite sometimes you decide the starting XI and the others go on bench and maybe someone can deserve to play. But at the same time they understand that now we are trying to create a squad, a strong squad.

To have Steven Bergwijn, Lucas Moura on the bench means during the game you have two players that can change the game, especially if you are down or need to win. Also Winksy, today he came in and Winksy deserve to play, but you know Bentancur and Pierre Hojbjerg are playing in a massive way. I have to consider it was a pity don’t stay in other competitions if involved in other competitions can give more space to players they deserve.

Don’t forget Joe Rodon improved a lot from November until now. Every single player improving a lot. Now for example Sanchez before play every game now not playing as we’ve found a good balance with Romero, Dier and Davies. Not because he doesn’t deserve to play, but in this moment they are playing very well. But to know if happen an injury and one three central defenders. to have Joe Rodon and have Patron Sanchez behind makes me happy.

With five assists since he joined, how happy are you with the way Dejan Kulusevski has settled in?

We are talking about a player that I know him very well, because he played in Italy. He started to play with Atalanta, then Atalanta brought [sent] him on loan to Parma, and he played in Serie A. And he played in a fantastic way. When I was coach of Inter, I tried to ask him, but then Juventus moved before. Maybe they put more money than us at the time, and then they bought this player.

We are talking about a player who is only 21 years old. And he has to continue to play this way. Because he’s strong physically, big engine, he’s good technically. I think for Tottenham, this is a great signing for the present and for the future. We are talking about really, really strong.

But also Rodrigo Bentancur with us, I said that with these two players, despite that we lost four players in January, with these two new signings we made this squad more complete, with more balance. I think that it’s very important in football to have a clear idea, and to have a good vision. Because in this way, the situation is more simple.

How good was Harry Kane today?

When the game finished I went into the pitch to thank my players and I said to Harry, ‘I am only disappointed for one thing, that you didn’t score because you played a massive game’. It is very difficult to describe this player. I am happy for him because we are talking about a world class striker. He deserves the best because he is a great worker, a hard worker, this is not normal.

Normally the player that has talent don’t like to work hard. In my career I didn’t have a great talent and for this reason I worked hard. What I liked from him from the first time was his availability, he was a big example for his team-mates. When you see him work in this way, for sure you have the desire to work and work very hard. For this reason I want to thank him, he is always a big example for everything and I hope to give him satisfaction.

I think he is now enjoying playing this type of football and we have to try to continue together. I am seeing many players with great improvement. Also Pierre, no one asked me about him, but I think in every game he is doing a fantastic job, with the ball, without the ball, strong physically. Every player is improving their level and for this reason Tottenham is going up and up.





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