Through two press conferences – post-match versus Vitesse and pre-match versus Everton – new Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte is saying things fans have been longing to hear.
Since the team essentially stopped on Mauricio Pochettino, there have been some hard questions needing asking at N17. However, through a couple of different coaching regimes, those hard questions did not seem to get asked. Now, with a new manager known for a no-nonsense, professional approach to the game, it is refreshing to hear what Antonio Conte has to say about the team.
Tottenham have room for improvement
Jose Mourinho may have only said it the one time but the camera caught him and it was available for the entire world, including his players to see. Mourinho commented on the Amazon All or Nothing documentary about how hard it would be to improve upon the team.
With that little seemingly complimentary and innocent statement, Mourinho had lost some of the squad who have coasted on past performances without producing consistent results.
The reality is, there is room for improvement in the squad, and Conte both knows it and has now said so. In speaking about improving the football aspects of the team – to match the non-football aspects like the stadium – he said that every single player needs to work a lot to improve many aspects of their play.
Conte noted it was not improving one or two or three players but working with the entire squad to improve. While it is true some players have more room for improvement than others, there is no denying that the entire team needs a commitment to getting better each day.
Spurs physical condition is one area to improve
When pressed on what Tottenham can improve upon, Conte turned quickly to the physical conditioning of the team. It was a well-known fact that the team was covering very little ground under Nuno and that has got to change.
Conte was as subtle as he could be about it in his assessment noting that the team needs to improve their condition to play his idea of football. So rather than say the players are out of shape, it is about being in the shape to play in Conte’s mold and image that the team needs to work toward.
The effort overall was better against Vitesse but it was still inconsistent, which was another area Conte said he wanted to improve.
Tottenham is too emotional on the field
Conte noted that one of the biggest changes he wants to make in the team is to create some consistency and have fewer ups and downs with the team. One way he noted to do this was to get his players to not be so emotional on the field, which is interesting given his passion.
However, there is a difference between playing hot and losing focus and it is the latter that Conte wants to avoid. As was the case against Vitesse only a little focus loss goes a long way against you.
The other side of that emotion and focus is the ability to finish an opponent, which was something Conte noted needing work. If the opportunity to finish an opponent is there you must finish the opponent.
Tottenham has a long, long way to go to get to where all the fans want them to be. However, after some time spent in the wilderness, the team again seems to have direction and a footballing vision. It is a vision and an approach that should be music to most Spurs fans’ ears.