Antonio Conte is renowned for his tactical nous and, in particular, the way he utilises wing-backs within his system, which he spoke about during a recent Tactics Masterclass interview with Premier League Productions.
Since taking over at Tottenham Hotspur in November 2021, Conte has totally transformed the club. Not only have results improved, but it appears the mentality of the players has changed too.
One of the most impressive facets of Conte’s reign has been how quickly the squad have adapted to the Italian’s style of play. With a 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1 formation, wing-backs have become an integral part of Spurs’ set-up.
Over the summer, Spurs brought in Ivan Perisic, who offers a wealth of experience in the left wing-back role. The Croatian has not taken long to make an impact either, with two assists already this season (Transfermarkt).
Perisic, of course, previously operated as a winger, before adapting to his new role under Conte at Inter Milan. Speaking to Premier League Productions, Conte revealed that this transition often makes a successful wing-back (as quoted by Football London).
He said: “The wing-back is really important if you play with three at the back. They’re important because it’s no good if they are too defensive because in this position you need to have quality.
“I like to have players that in the past was a winger because in this situation they are good at one vs one.
“I remember very well when I arrived in Chelsea I started to play with a 4-2-3-1, but when we lost against Arsenal I decided to change. Then I discovered Victor Moses in a really fantastic way that position.
“It’s the same for Ivan Perisic. He was a winger and in my first season in Inter Milan he wasn’t so convinced about this role. He wasn’t 100% and in the first season Ivan struggled a bit and now I think he’s one of the best players in this role.”
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There’s no denying that Conte has worked wonders at Spurs in the time he’s been here, and to get the players operating in this particular style of play so quickly has been so important to the club’s successes on the field.
His description of what he looks for in a wing-back really does reinforce the idea that someone like Lucas Moura could adapt to that position, and explains why players like Adama Traore have been targeted in the past too.
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