Antonio Conte has suggested that Tottenham Hotspur do not need reinforcements at centre-back despite their defensive struggles this season.
With Cristian Romero not available for selection, Conte started with a back three of Japhet Tanganga, Eric Dier and Clement Lenglet at the Brentford Community Stadium, with the Spurs backline coming under plenty of pressure in the first half.
Tanganga, in particular, struggled to cope with the physicality of Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo while Dier’s miscued clearance in the second half led to the corner kick from which the home side got their second goal.
Reports over the last couple of months have indicated that Conte is keen on strengthening at centre-back, with the likes of Rodrigo Becao (Tutto Udinese), Stefan De Vrij (TMW) and Giorgio Scalvini (InterLive) being mooted as potential targets for Spurs in January.
However, the Tottenham head coach has said that he is happy with the options he has in defence and insisted that Tanganga needs time to get back to his best.
When asked if his side’s defensive display on Boxing Day was evidence that he needs new faces at the back, Conte told Football.London: “No, about the defenders, I think now we’ve have recovered also Japhet Tanganga. It was his first game this season.
“He struggled a lot with his knee. You know now that he needs a bit of time to grow into the game, but I’m pleased for him to play a game today.
“Then at central defender, I think we are good. We have to continue to work, to work. Cuti Romero comes back tomorrow in the training session.
“I repeat in one side I am a bit disappointed this season because we have conceded many goals. In the other side I think that we are scoring many goals, creating chances and to attack with many players.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Tanganga is by no means the only centre-back that has struggled to cope with Toney this season and the 23-year-old certainly deserves some slack, given that he is starting a match after nearly a year.
I thought Dier was near flawless until that skewed clearance that led to the corner but his momentary lapse in concentration ended up costing us again.
I do not think we should take Conte’s statement here about not wanting reinforcements at centre-back at face value. He probably said it so that the likes of Dier and Tanganga do not lose confidence.
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