Antonio Conte explains gap between ‘a good team and a top team’ that Spurs need to bridge

Antonio Conte
(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Antonio Conte has claimed that the Tottenham players have to develop a ruthless mentality even when they compete in the Champions League if they wish to be one of the best teams in Europe.

Tottenham fell to their first defeat of the season against Sporting this week, with the Portuguese side scoring twice in stoppage time after the away side squandered some opportunities to take the lead.

Conte insisted that his side deserved more from the clash at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.

Despite the loss on Tuesday, the Spurs boss insisted that the start to the campaign has been positive, and called on his players to finish with a win against Leicester City ahead of the international break.

He told Football.London: “We have to try to finish this block of games in the best possible way. The game won’t be easy against Leicester. We will try to finish with a win but I think Leicester will have the same idea. For this reason, we have to go with the right focus, desire and concentration.

“Until now I think we have done well. We drew two games away at West Ham and Chelsea, it can happen. Maybe against Chelsea, we were lucky. In Champions League we beat Marseille and lost the last game [against Sporting]. In the last game maybe we deserved more but sometimes football gives you more and sometimes it cuts something off.

“I am sure for the way we are working and the new players are progressing, they are playing with the right desire to improve this process. In the Champions League, at the same time, we have to feel when there is the possibility to kill the opponent and we have to kill it. This is the step between a good team and a top team. A top team feels the moment to kill an opponent and they do it. In this aspect, we can improve a lot.”

The Italian admitted that his players need to develop a ruthless mentality when playing in the Champions League, and suggested that they can only do so by gaining more experience in the competition.

He added: “[The Champions League] is the most difficult competition in the world. For sure you need to play games, games, games. This is the only way to have experience in this competition. For this reason, at the end, you find always the same teams. They are used to playing in this competition.

“I see players that change totally, their attitude, their behaviour to play Champions League from playing in the league. I don’t want to speak about others but Real Madrid, sometimes they play a game before and they struggle a lot. They arrive for the Champions League and their face changes. We have to feel this competition. To feel it is to be used to playing in it.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Conte seems to be suggesting that some of the Tottenham players let the occasion get to them on Tuesday. I think that is a fair assessment, given that we wasted some good opportunities in the second half owing to our tentativeness in the final third, and conceded a couple of poor goals late on.

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