Antonio Conte has said he feels “very happy” Tottenham signed Richarlison after the striker’s debut on Wednesday but noticed two key areas of improvement.
Spurs’ return to action this summer has been greatly anticipated following their impressive summer business so far. And they got their pre-season off to a flying start.
Tottenham beat Team K-League 6-3 in South Korea, with Eric Dier opening the scoring after 30 minutes. Their opponents equalised just before half time and levelled again to make it 2-2 after an own goal.
However, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min – who received a hero’s welcome in his home country – netted two each to seal the win for Tottenham.
Conte in fact started the match without Kane or Son up front. Richarlison – the big-money Brazilian recently signed from Everton – instead played a 77-minute debut, starting alongside Lucas Moura and Bryan Gil.
And despite noticing some immediate improvements Richarlison must make, Conte gave a glowing verdict on the goalscorer’s first outing.
Conte wowed by Richarlison, Tottenham debut
“Today I have seen a lot of positive things about Richy,” the manager told his post-match press conference.
“In the first half he played as a number nine and in the second half he played on the right and in behind the striker.
“He can play in all three positions. I think he is strong physically and a good personality, good character, good quality. We are working on the tactical aspect with him because he has to go into our idea and also the physical aspect because he has to be fit.
“He’s a player that is a good player, strong and very good to protect the ball and attack the space. Also he made a good assist. I’m very happy that we signed him.”
Conte echoed that sentiment for his whole team’s performance, insisting Spurs can improve but are firstly focusing on fitness. He added that while he wanted his players to “enjoy” the occasion, the mentality was to “get the win”.
Updates on missing Spurs players
A total of five first-team players did not take to the pitch for Tottenham in South Korea amid their 11 substitutes.
Richarlison’s fellow new signings Yves Bissouma, Fraser Forster and Ivan Perisic did not play. January signing Dejan Kulusevski and Ben Davies were also unable to get any minutes.
“Kulusevski and Davies, you saw they had a good training session on the pitch,” the manager said.
How will Richarlison fit in at Tottenham?
Will Richarlison be a success at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium?
“For Ben it was the second training session. He needed to recover and run and do the same training as the others. The same for Kulusevski. We had a problem with Covid, with Bissouma because the test was positive. Bissouma and Fraser.
“Perisic is working very well. I think tomorrow we could have part of the training session with us. We are very satisfied because his recovery is going very fast and back in London he will be able to join in more.”
Solid start in pre-season
Tottenham have made a solid start to their pre-season and they can move onto Saturday’s clash with Sevilla with confidence.
Wednesday saw the return of big guns Kane and Son to the team and the scoresheet.
But with the likes of Kulusevski, Bissouma and Perisic yet to get going this summer, Tottenham have a lot to look forward.
Tottenham will hope all their new signings can gel ahead of a new season where Champions League and Premier League hopes are firmly on the agenda.