Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has admitted that the club are now “paying” for recruitment mistakes made while Mauricio Pochettino was in charge.
Pochettino built a solid Spurs team which grew in stature as his tenure at the club progressed. While he did not ultimately win any silverware, Tottenham came close to the Premier League title.
They also reached the Champions League final, guided by the likes of Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane.
When Pochettino’s Spurs finished second in the 2016/17 Premier League table, Chelsea – guided by Conte at the time – beat them to top spot by seven points.
As such, the Italian was a keen observer of his managerial rival. Now that he is in the Spurs hot seat, he has reflected on why the club has regressed since their European Cup final outing in 2019.
Indeed, since Pochettino’s sacking in November 2019, Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo have also come and gone. However, the club has failed to match Pochettino’s heights.
“The club, in the last years, has been slipping,” Conte told Sky Sports News. “If I compare Tottenham to when I was in Chelsea, Tottenham was very, very competitive, was a really, really strong team.
“And I think that to lose important players or someone became old and then to have a change of generation, I think Tottenham now is paying a bit of this.
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“Now we have to create, to start again. To think that we have to create a solid base and then to build. Because if we don’t have a solid base, it’s impossible to build something important.
“I think that now is the right moment to create a solid base and then to start to build. To come back to fight for something important as [in] the past.”
Conte has already had highs and lows since taking the Tottenham job. A come-from-behind win over Leeds showed grit and determination.
However, last Thursday’s Europa Conference League defeat to Mura was a reality check. In fact, afterwards, Conte admitted that the result made him truly realise how big a challenge he faces at Spurs.
Conte admits big Tottenham challenge
Conte added when speaking to Sky Sports News: “I think it must be our target but this target has to involve all – the club, the players. I think also our fans.
“I understand that sometimes they lose their patience but I repeat I am here to put myself totally for Tottenham and to work 24 hours for this club because this a big challenge for me – maybe the best, big challenge, about the difficulty – about the position that we are starting.”
Tottenham did not play on Sunday following their clash with Burnley being postponed because of snow.
However, their busy December fixture list gets going with Thursday’s clash against Brentford.