Antonio Conte is on the verge of guiding Tottenham Hotspur to a place in the Champions League after a two-year absence from Europe’s premier competition. Heading into the final game of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign in fourth, Spurs crucially hold a two-point advantage over nearest rivals Arsenal.
Three points against Norwich City at Carrow Road will guarantee Tottenham Champions League football, while a point will also be enough unless there is a huge swing in goal difference and the Gunners beat Everton by 16 goals. Looking a long way off the top four following his appointment at the start of November, the Lilywhites have made huge strides in recent months to put themselves in the driving seat for fourth.
Reflecting on what he found at Tottenham when he first arrived in N17 and whether his players are now mentally stronger, the 52-year-old opened up on his first game against Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League. Winning 3-2 despite having Cristian Romero sent off on the hour mark, there were aspects of the performance that Conte did not like nor can he forget about.
“I think in this aspect we improved it a lot from the start until the end of the season. I don’t forget when I arrived my first game was against Vitesse we were winning 2-0 and in 10 minutes 3-2 and a red card for us, 10 men against 11. If you remember,” he explained in his pre-match press conference.
“I don’t forget! I said in my mind I don’t want to go crazy (laughs) with this type of situation for you show to be not stable. I don’t like a team that doesn’t show stability. You win and you lose but when you lose you have to be strong and to know what happen during the game.
“My first game was really emotional but in a bad way not in a positive way. I think from that we worked a lot. We had many steps, sometimes we had bad steps like Burnley if you remember away we lost 1-0 after a win against Manchester City but I think it was part of the process with the players.
“Now I think that we improved a lot in many aspects and for this reason we are fighting for a place in the Champions League. Otherwise our position would have been lower this season.”