New Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte labelled his first match in charge of the club – a 3-2 win over Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League on Thursday – a “crazy game”, but one that will also be important in the team’s growth.
Conte only took over at Spurs on Tuesday following the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo, with the Italian granted his work permit to led his new team against Vitesse two days later.
Conte’s debut clash was a five-goal thriller, including three red cards, as the home side took all three points to move up to second place in Group G.
“My first impression is that it was a crazy game because we were winning 3-0 and we were dominating the game and created many chances to score other goals, but instead in 10 minutes we conceded twice and we lost a bit of confidence,” said Conte. “I think you have to work also on these aspects, but we should have won and we won.
“For sure, in the second half after the 10 men, they tried to push us and then I decided to make three changes because I could see that we had lost the balance and in the end I think we deserved to win as we created more chances than Vitesse.”
However, while the former Juventus, Chelsea, Italy and Inter Milan head coach admitted such free-flowing, high-scoring affairs were not his idea of fun, he also revealed such contests would be useful in helping his team to mature into a winning unit.
“Those who know me very well, I don’t like when this type of crazy game happens,” he added. “I call them crazy games. I want a stable team and when there is the possibility to kill the opponent you must kill. For sure my team showed me great commitment and resilience. For sure, this team needed to win by also suffering. It was important today.”
The new man was also impressed with Tottenham’s stadium and fans, while he went on to describe their state-of-the-art training ground as “the best in the world”.
“For sure the team has great potential,” said Conte. “I was enthusiastic about this stadium and the crowd. The atmosphere was electric and it was one of the reasons why I accepted to come here as I know that here I can work in the way that I like. This is a top club and I want to repay the club about the trust they have shown me and for sure now in this moment, we have to focus on the pitch and on the football aspect to try to bring the same level.
“The training ground is maybe the best in the world as I’ve not seen this type of situation. The players and I should work a lot as we want to improve the football aspect. The support of the fans tonight showed they deserve this.”
Tottenham’s next match and Conte’s first in the Premier League with his new club is at Everton on Sunday, after which comes the international break, leaving the 52-year-old with little time to work with his new players on the training ground.
“The team must now prepare for the game against Everton before they go with the national teams,” he said. “We need time to work, we need time. This is the only aspect as I like to have time to work because this team and I need to work together to bring across my idea of football and the tactical aspects much better than now. This is the only aspect that I’m a bit afraid of.
“But I know there is this type of situation and for this reason we need a bit of patience. I know that we have to be patient because there is a situation that we don’t have too much time to work. We have a lot of space for improvement. This team is young, but we all have to work together.
“My team showed resilience and were compact. The only negative aspect is that when you are winning 3-0, the game should be over. Instead, we risked to open the game again. It’s the one negative aspect of this game.
“In this moment, it is impossible to make a comparison with my Inter Milan side. At Inter, I had a finished product after two years working there.
“For sure, in two years many players improved a lot. I am sure if I have time to work with these players, there is great potential for development with these players. We have a lot of space for improvement. If we improve every single player, the whole team will become stronger. We need to find the time to work and this is the real problem at this moment as we need to work on many aspects.
“I am happy as for a part of this game I could see what we were trying after only two days of training.”
Tottenham visit Goodison Park to face Everton on Sunday in the Premier League; kick-off 2pm. Spurs return to Europa Conference League action on Thursday November 25 when they visit NS Mura; kick-off 5.45pm.
When are the Europa Conference League group stage games?
Matchday 5: November 25 2021
Matchday 6: December 9 2021
February 17 & 24 2022: Knockout round play-offs
March 10 & 17 2022: Round of 16
April 7 & 14 2022: Quarter-finals
April 28 & May 5 2022: Semi-finals
May 25 2022: Final (National Arena, Tirana)