Antonio Conte has explained that he wants Tottenham to be able to press the opponent high up the pitch or defend deep depending on the phase of the game.
Conte adopted a 3-4-3 system as soon as he arrived at Spurs in the November of last year and, barring a couple of rare occasions, the Italian has not shown a willingness to change the formation.
The Spurs boss, who has also been known to use a 3-5-2 in the past, admitted that he saw a 3-4-3 as an ideal fit for the Lilywhites even before he took the job.
When asked about the formation, Conte said on Spurs TV (Premier League Productions): “I’m at home with this. This (3-4-3) is our system, our formation, that we are using in Tottenham.
“I think that when a coach, a manager, arrives in a new club, I think you have to pay great attention and try to exploit the characteristics of your players. Then you need to adapt your idea of football.
“I always thought in the past when I saw Tottenham with the three players in front that the good system would exploit the strikers, because the strikers are important players for us.”
Although Spurs generally tend to create a lot of chances while conceding very few under Conte, the North Londoners don’t usually press too high up the pitch in comparison to some other top teams in the Premier League.
They have shown a willingness to defend deep without the ball, particularly in big games and Conte explained that he wants his players to be able to adapt to different situations within each game.
He added: “I think that a good team has to be good to recognise different phases during the game, because if you find your opponent defends very deep then you have to be good.
“In this case, you have to stay with all of the players [in the opposition half] and bring one of these two [wide centre-backs] to attack as well.
“Then you have to prepare with the other four players [the central midfielders and the remaining two centre-backs] for the counterattack.
“At the same time when you are defending in your half pitch, then you have to be good. You have to be good to be narrow defensively and then exploit the space for the counterattack.
“I think a good team that wants to try to be competitive, to win something important, the players have to be good offensively and defensively and find the right balance in both situations.”
Spurs Web Opinion
If there is one criticism of Spurs under Conte, it is that our pressing game is not as coordinated as the other top teams in the Premier League. However, having said that, we are arguably one of the best defensively organised teams in the division and are very difficult to play against once we take the lead.
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