Antonio Conte has remarked that he was well aware when he accepted the Tottenham job that it was not possible to win trophies straight away and that it was a longer-term project than he has been used to in his managerial career.
After seeing Spurs clinch fourth last season and bulking up their squad during the summer transfer window, fans would have expected the club to push on this campaign.
However, that has not materialised so far and the Lilywhites now seemingly find themselves engaged in a fierce battle to qualify for the Champions League again.
However, Conte has now insisted that the difficulty of the task at the North London club has not come as a surprise to him.
The 53-year-old admitted that he is happy to continue working at the club but stated that he will not hesitate to walk away if he feels if he and the Spurs hierarchy do not share his vision.
The Tottenham head coach told Football.London: “At the start for me it wasn’t easy but then I think this is an important experience. I accepted to do this because I found a great club, a modern club and for this reason, I’m happy to work here. I found people that want to be positive and try to create.
“I found people that know the reality. For this reason, I accepted this. Otherwise, if these people had said to me we have to win I would have said sorry but this is not the right moment to think that in one year you have to win. For this reason, I accepted this.
“Now, the task is this, my big challenge is this. To continue to work so strong with my staff and the players to improve the club, to create a solid foundation.
“Then if I am satisfied to continue to do this work and to one day see the result I will continue to stay. If I’m not convinced 100 per cent then I can leave my work, I can leave my work here.
“It’s a big work we are doing together. I know very well what it is and it’s important. My task is this, and if you asked me you are used to (winning), yeah but to win you have to stay in the right condition.
“My task with the club is to create a solid base for Tottenham to come back to be competitive and to have the ambition, but in a strong way not only with words.”
The former Inter Milan boss insisted that Tottenham have now started the process of building a strong foundation in order to compete for honours in the future, and explained that the speed of the process depends on several factors, including how much the club’s competitors invest in their squads.
He added: “For now the most important thing is that the process has started. This is very important. Then, the process you can accelerate or you go step by step.
“It depends also on many circumstances, it also depends on the other clubs. You go to improve but the others continue to grow and invest a lot of money and then it becomes difficult.
“We have only one way to follow, we have to stay together and it’s important to have togetherness between fans, the club, the players. We have to stay together and know we are going to do something good if we have time and patience. The process has started and then this is the reality now.”
Conte reiterated that he would not have accepted the job more than a year ago if the club had demanded instant success.
He continued: “Here, I understood that my task is different. My task here is to help the club, to build a solid foundation, to create a base and then to try to improve.
“This is my task here, this is my challenge here. If you ask me – and the challenge for you – is to win the Premier League, to win the Champions League, this is not the task here in this moment.
“The task for me is to help the club. I found and I signed a contract in November 2021 when I found the club in a difficult position for many reasons.
“Now my task, I understood it very well, is to try to help the club go in the right direction or to come back in the right direction about the choices of the players, about the work, to organise and to create a foundation.
“Now this is my big challenge here. Now if I want to stay here, then I have to accept this. Otherwise, if I do not want to accept this then I have to go.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I do not think Conte can discuss a potential long-term project when he is not prepared to commit himself to a long-term contract at the club. Some fans would argue that he should not commit himself until he sees if the club are willing to back him.
However, one can also see why the Tottenham hierarchy would be hesitant to back him if he is not willing to give assurances of staying at the club until the end of the season. For example, investing £40m on another right wing-back might be a waste of money if the player does not fit into the plans of the next manager.
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