Antonio Conte has hailed Yves Bissouma for turning his Tottenham fortunes around in recent weeks, while the manager has also spoken about Richarlison’s calf problem.
Tottenham beat Everton 2-0 at home on Saturday evening. They scored twice in the second half to pick up all three points and keep the pressure on Arsenal and Manchester City.
However, Tottenham were lucky not to be 2-0 down in the first half. Demarai Gray and Amadou Onana both should have scored after running through on goal. But the Toffees duo could only send their efforts over the bar.
Spurs made them pay in the second half. Harry Kane bagged from the penalty spot in the 59th minute after drawing a foul from Jordan Pickford in the box.
And Pierre-Emile Hobjberg doubled their lead in the final few minutes of normal time. This helped Spurs run out 2-0 winners.
A big reason Spurs took the lead and held onto it was Bissouma. The midfielder, who endured a tough start to life at Spurs, replaced Richarlison in the 52nd minute as Conte went from a 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2.
And Bissouma held the defensive midfield position, which allowed Rodrigo Bentancur and Hojbjerg to get forward and link up for Spurs’ second goal.
During a post-match interview with Sky Sports (via BBC Sport), Conte said: “We have to be really happy because in my opinion we played a good game, we created a lot of chances and had injuries during the game.
Antonio Conte ‘likes Tottenham attitude’
“That could have created something negative but we found a right solution to the game. I liked our attitude, we started very well and had to pay attention in the first half.”
Conte then praised Bissouma by labelling him ‘the best solution’ to Richarlison’s injury. Given he was previously struggling under Conte, this seems to be a big step in the right direction for the player.
“I think Yves Bissouma was the best solution because he enjoys playing in front of central defenders with two midfielders behind him,” Conte added.
“Despite the difficulty of the game, we are talking about a good opponent and despite the injuries we were able to solve the situation. That means the players are growing in many aspects. I am very proud of the players.
“I think our fans will enjoy this performance and we hope to continue this way.”
Conte then spoke about Richarlison’s injury and what Spurs’ plan is. The attacker could be out for a few weeks after straining his calf.
“We don’t know, we hope it is not so serious. He felt a problem in his calf,” the Italian admitted. “He will have an MRI to understand it tomorrow. We hope it is not serious.”
Harry Kane discusses penalty
During a post-match interview with Sky Sports, goalscorer Kane said: “We had to be patient. The spaces opened up as they got tired; thankfully we kept knocking on the door and got a couple of chances. It was a really good win.”
When asked about coming up against England team-mate Jordan Pickford, Kane replied: “He made a couple of good saves and I snuck the penalty past him. Happy to get on the scoresheet again; it has been a tough week with loads of games. We’ve got to recover well and get ready for Wednesday.
“Whenever you miss a penalty the next one is the most important one. I’ve practiced so many against Jordan and I feel like I’m coming up againat a lot of English keepers this season. It was nice to get that one, it was really important.”
Fellow goalscorer Hojbjerg added: “When you play every three days, you need to be able to maintain the level by doing the right things.”
On the change of formation, he continued: “When you play with two in the middle and turn to three, it gives you an extra man. You can find your position and be a bit more patient. It helped us maintain the ball, which we need to do better.”