Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Tottenham told two stars aren’t good enough for Conte, as Carragher explains why Arsenal are the biggest issue

Tottenham trio Harvey White, Hugo Lloris and Clement Lenglet

Jamie Carragher explained why Arsenal are Spurs’ biggest problem, and claimed two Tottenham stars aren’t up to snuff for Antonio Conte.

Spurs face Bournemouth in a 3pm kick-off on Saturday with hopes high of putting their recent poor form to bed. Failure to beat Sporting Lisbon midweek has left their progression to the knockout rounds of the Champions League in the balance. A nervy trip to Marseille in matchweek six will determine their fate.

On the domestic front, Conte’s side were played off the park by Manchester United two weekends ago. A 2-0 defeat was followed up by another loss last time out when sunk 2-1 on home soil by Newcastle.

The on-field problems have begun to spark criticism and dissenting voices from the Spurs faithful.

Boos have been audible in recent weeks, something that pundit Jamie Carragher feels in unfair.

Writing for the Telegraph, the ex-Liverpool stalwart described the dissent shown towards Conte and his players during the Newcastle clash as “extremely harsh”.

Furthermore, he insisted a major factor in the criticism Spurs are receiving stems from the fact bitter rivals Arsenal are not only winning so frequently, but playing an attractive brand of football to boot.

By contrast, Conte has his Tottenham side seeking out results in a more pragmatic and structured manner.

Arsenal progress sparking Conte dissent?

“Antonio Conte has a major problem at Tottenham Hotspur. It is called Arsenal,” wrote Carragher.

“One team in North London is generating headlines for playing with a youthful, energetic swagger. The other is seen as more pragmatic and counterattacking.

“Neither side is “right” or “better” in their approach – it remains to be seen whether Mikel Arteta or Conte win more trophies at the end of their respective reigns – but Tottenham supporters are looking at their rivals and craving similar edge-of-the-seat football.

“What adds to their frustration is that Mauricio Pochettino’s best side was providing that and there has been a reset since he left.”

Carragher continued: “Personally, I think the reaction during the Newcastle game was extremely harsh. I am a huge admirer of the Italian and believe the longer he sticks around, the stronger Spurs will be.

“Look at where Tottenham were when Conte arrived. They had lost five of their previous seven games under Nuno Espirito Santo. To recover and finish in the top four was a brilliant achievement.

“Even if it goes wrong on a tricky night in Marseilles next week I do not believe there should be an overreaction.”

Criticism should be aimed at Levy – Carragher

Expanding further on why Conte isn’t to blame, as well as claiming Spurs fans’ jeers are targeted at the wrong person, the pundit continued: “Should the argument persist that the Italian is “not the right fit” for Spurs, the problem is not Conte’s.

“There is no point in jeering a manager for doing what he has always done. Those who do not like it should direct their frustration at those who appointed him.

“Daniel Levy knew what he was getting: a proven winner with a reputation for being combustible when he does not get his way.

“The growing discontent is because of the contradiction between Tottenham fans’ perception of what their team should be and Conte’s blueprint for success.”

Two Tottenham stars not up to it

Finally, Carragher cited two positions Tottenham must address if they’re to give Conte the right tools to build a winning team.

Carragher took aim at Hugo Lloris who has endured an error-strewn campaign thus far. His latest blunder when colliding with Callum Wilson against Newcastle put Spurs behind.

Barcelona loanee Clement Lenglet was also branded “poor” for his part in the defeat. The centre-half has never been known for his speed or agility, but resembled a statue when breezed past by Miguel Almiron for the Magpies’ second.

“Despite his experience and medal haul, Lloris is not good enough to take Spurs to the next level and win the big trophies,” added Carragher.

“He is a World Cup-winner but he makes too many errors and is not the same level as the best around. It is a position where I feel Spurs have been lacking for a while.

“Add the need for another centre-half – Clement Lenglet’s performance against Newcastle was poor – and Conte’s argument that he needs a few more transfer windows to assemble the squad to meet his objectives is correct.

“What you can be sure of is that, if there is any hint of Spurs getting fatigued by Conte, he will not be short of offers to move on. He does not have a history of hanging around.”

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