EPL

'Poor technically, tactically and mentally' – Conte concedes there's plenty of work to do at Spurs

By Sports Desk November 25, 2021

Antonio Conte reiterated "it will take time to bring Tottenham back" following Spurs' shock 2-1 loss to Slovenian minnows Mura in the Europa Conference League.

Harry Kane looked to have salvaged a point for Tottenham by cancelling out Tommy Horvat's opener at Fazanerija, but Amadej Marosa scored a dramatic winner with the final kick on Thursday.

Spurs made nine changes from their 2-1 Premier League win over Leeds United last weekend and played more than an hour with 10 men following Ryan Sessegnon's dismissal.

But the defeat – Tottenham's first under head coach Conte since his appointment earlier this month – will still go down as one of the worst in their European history against a side with a UEFA coefficient ranking of 341.

Spurs can now no longer finish top of Group G, meaning a two-legged play-off awaits in February should they first match Vitesse's result in the final round of group fixtures in a fortnight.

Conte, who has a record of two wins, a draw and a defeat from his four games since replacing Nuno Espirito Santo, accepted an improvement is required in every department ahead of hosting Rennes.

"This is a bad loss for us. The performance was poor," the former Inter boss said. "We know we have a lot of work ahead of us. This is a difficult moment for us. 

"We need patience to improve, to be good again. We were poor not only technically and tactically but also mentally. It will take time to bring Tottenham back.

"I don't take this loss personally. I accepted this challenge to improve and build Tottenham to a better level. But it will take time. 

"I want to thank our supporters for their support. We will analyse the game and I will talk to the players then."

Tottenham are seventh in the Premier League with 12 matches played, four points adrift of the top four, and are back in action against Burnley on Sunday.

"I think this team is very young but at the same time we have to work and improve because the details move the final result," Serie A-winning coach Conte added.

"I did not like what happened tonight, the performance. I must be honest and tell you that after three and a half weeks, I am starting to understand the situation. I can tell you that the situation is not simple.

"It is not simple because in this moment because for sure the level of Tottenham is not so high. There is an important gap to the top teams in England. Of this we must not be scared. 

"I am here to work, here to improve the situation. I know we have to work hard but we have also to improve the quality of the situation, because if we want to be competitive."

Kane, one of two players to retain his place from the Leeds game, was on target for Spurs but otherwise looked off the pace – as did the rest of his team-mates.

"We started poorly, conceded an early goal and were left with ten men," said Kane, who has scored eight goals in his last four outings for club and country.

"In the second half we put on the pressure, scored but then let them get a goal in the last second. We're disappointed, we're angry and we have to learn from this."

Related items

  • Carrick to lead Man Utd against Arsenal as Rangnick waits on work visa Carrick to lead Man Utd against Arsenal as Rangnick waits on work visa

    Manchester United will again be led by caretaker boss Michael Carrick in Thursday's game against Arsenal as the club wait for Ralf Rangnick to receive a work visa.

    It means Carrick will be in charge for a third successive game, having already led the team to a 2-0 win at Villarreal in the Champions League and a 1-1 draw away to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

    United's hopes of upgrading from caretaker Carrick to interim boss Rangnick in time for the Old Trafford clash with the Gunners have been hit by red tape.

    As the team went through their preparations for the game at the Carrington training base, Carrick told United's players he would be giving out the orders once more.

    In a statement on their official website, United said: "Ralf Rangnick was announced as interim manager on Monday but, while the club follows the regulatory process around a work visa, Carrick will continue at the helm.

    "Michael has communicated this to players and staff at Carrington in a busy week for the club."

    United announced on Monday an agreement had been reached with Rangnick over a relationship that is set to span two and a half years.

    Initially, Rangnick will take charge until the end of the season before moving into a consultancy role.

    Rangnick has previously shaped German clubs such as Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig from top to bottom, with his future advisory position at Old Trafford suggesting United are planning an overhaul of their football operations, which have long appeared outdated compared to their rivals.

    He has been working most recently at Lokomotiv Moscow, but the 63-year-old is now set to step into the highest-profile position of his career.

    Carrick has been at the helm since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dismissal on November 21, which followed a dismal run of form that saw United lose five of seven Premier League games.

    They sit eighth in the table, five points behind fifth-placed Arsenal, having won just five of 13 domestic league games this season and with a goal difference of minus one.

    United are at home again on Sunday when they host Crystal Palace, seemingly a more realistic target for Rangnick's first game.

  • Ballon d'Or: Ronaldo and Benzema should have finished above Messi, says Kroos Ballon d'Or: Ronaldo and Benzema should have finished above Messi, says Kroos

    Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema were more deserving of winning the 2021 Ballon d'Or award than Lionel Messi, according to Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos.

    Messi won football's top individual accolade for a record-extending seventh time on Monday largely thanks to his success at international level with Argentina.

    The 34-year-old played a key part in Argentina's Copa America success, contributing to nine of the 13 goals his side scored as he ended his long wait for an international trophy.

    He has had a rather more mixed year at club level, having scored 28 goals in 29 games for Barcelona before completing a shock transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in August.

    Messi has netted just four times in his first 11 games for PSG, but he did enough to finish ahead of favourite Robert Lewandowski for his latest Ballon d'Or triumph.

    Lewandowski finished second despite scoring 53 times in 42 games this year so far – 15 more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues across all competitions.

    Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho was third, followed by Benzema – who has 34 goals this year – in fourth and N'Golo Kante placed fifth. 

    Five-time winner Ronaldo finished sixth – the first time he has failed to make the top three in 11 years – but Kroos insists his former team-mate, as well as current colleague Benzema, have impressed more this year than Messi.

    "[Messi's] award is absolutely not deserved," Kroos said on his Einfach mal Luppen podcast. "There is no doubt that Messi, with Cristiano, has been the player of the last decade, but this year there should've been others ahead of him.

    "For me, Karim would have been the number one if you were really looking for the best individual player of the last year. I can see from close quarters what an outstanding footballer he is.

    "When I see how many decisive goals Cristiano has scored lately – Manchester United are still in the Champions League thanks to him alone – then, in my eyes, Cristiano would have also come before Messi."

    Messi won the first of his seven Ballons d'Or in 2009 and now has two more than Ronaldo, with Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten next on the list with three each.

    The PSG superstar's latest success has caused plenty of debate, however, with legendary Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas also questioning the outcome of Monday's vote.

    "It is increasingly difficult for me to believe in football awards," he posted on his personal Twitter account.

    "For me, Messi, he is one of the five best players in all of history, but you have to know how to list the most outstanding players in a season. It's not that hard."

  • New Man Utd boss Rangnick looks set to miss Arsenal game with work permit still processing New Man Utd boss Rangnick looks set to miss Arsenal game with work permit still processing

    Manchester United have confirmed new interim manager Ralf Rangnick's work permit is still processing, meaning he is likely to be absent for Thursday's match against Arsenal.

    Following much speculation, United announced on Monday an agreement had been reached with Rangnick over a relationship that is set to span two and a half years.

    Initially, Rangnick will take charge until the end of the season before moving into a consultancy role.

    Rangnick has previously shaped German clubs such as Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig from top to bottom, with his future advisory position at Old Trafford suggesting United are planning an overhaul of their football operations, which have long appeared outdated compared to their rivals.

    Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dismissal, his former assistant Michael Carrick has been in charge and presided over a 2-0 Champions League win at Villarreal and a 1-1 draw away to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

    United are next in action at home to Arsenal on Thursday, though it seems Rangnick will not be present.

    An update posted to United's website read: "[It] will be the first game since Ralf Rangnick was appointed interim manager, even though the new man is still waiting for his work visa to be processed."

    To further complicate matters, people travelling to the United Kingdom are required to take a coronavirus test within two days of entering the country, and individuals must quarantine until their result has been returned.

    As such, even if Rangnick received his visa on Wednesday, the likelihood of him taking a coronavirus test and getting the result in time to attend Thursday's match is remote.

    United are at home again on Sunday when they host Crystal Palace, seemingly a more realistic target for Rangnick's first game.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.