Antonio Conte believes Arsenal have made two terrific signings over the summer as he prepares to face an “improved” Gunners side this weekend in the north London derby.
Tottenham edged out their neighbours to fourth place and a spot in the Champions League last season. They triumphed 3-0 on home soil in May and then defeated Burnley and Norwich to pip Arsenal to fourth.
Both Conte and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta traded blows in the aftermath of the result. With Conte urging Arteta to stop complaining in response to Arteta claiming “the beautiful game had been destroyed”.
Arteta invested heavily in his squad though in the summer and Conte is in agreement that Arsenal are now stronger. Two specific signings have caught the eye of the Italian – namely Premier League winners Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City.
“I think if I see what happened at Arsenal, they’re a club who backed Arteta over the years,” Conte said.
“You’re seeing when you trust a person, and Arsenal showed this also in a tough period with Arteta (by) backing him in every moment, now they’re having good results. Last season, don’t forget they were in the Champions League (places) in the last three games.
“They had a good step. I think this season they’re better than last season. They made good signings, especially Jesus and Zinchenko from a club like Manchester City, two players that are used to winning and having a winning mentality. It’s important because I can see they’ve improved the level. Not only the quality but the mentality at Arsenal.
“I think they’re doing a good job. In my opinion it’s always very, very important to go together, with the coach and the club. If you want to build something important you have to go together, to have a good relationship.
“I think the manager in every decision he is going to take has to have a good explanation to the club, ‘why I want this and not that player.’ It’s right for the manager to show the vision that you have and then the club have to agree with the manager. To have a great connection, a great link between the manager and the club, for sure you have a future much better than the present.”
Conte: ‘I have watched that episode’
When Spurs beat Arsenal last May, footage from inside the away dressing room was captured by the Amazon Prime cameras. That documentary as since gone to air. Conte has started watching ‘All or Nothing’ but has admitted he has not finished the series.
“I didn’t finish watching it but for sure in the future I will finish this documentary,” he said.
“And I did the same with Tottenham, Manchester City and Juventus. Because I’m really curious to understand the way to manage the situation for the coach.
“I think it was really, really interesting, but Arsenal’s documentary I started but didn’t finish. In the future for sure I will finish. I think it’s positive because this documentary shows behind the scenes.”
Quizzed if he had watched the ending, which shows Tottenham beating Arsenal to Champions League qualification, Conte smiled: “Yeah, but I have watched that episode.”