Antonio Conte has urged the Tottenham fans to reset their expectations, insisting that the team is not yet ready to compete for a top-four finish.
Spurs fell to their second consecutive defeat at home against Wolves on Sunday, which came as a bitter blow to their hopes of finishing in the top four.
While Tottenham are still just five points behind West Ham with three games in hand over their rivals, Conte insisted that finishing fourth is not a realistic target for the team going by their recent form.
He asked the fans to get behind the players during upcoming matches rather than putting pressure on the team.
The Spurs boss told Sky Sports after Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat to Wolves: “When you lose two games at home and against Chelsea – for a team that want to qualify for the Champions League, it’s impossible to happen.
“We know we have to fight to build something important with the situation but it’s important to know the situation. Maybe our fans shouldn’t be disappointed with the defeat – instead, they should try and push us and stay behind us.
“The players need to find the right atmosphere and feel no pressure about a target that in this moment you can’t reach. I’ve been saying this since my arrival.
“We need to be realistic and together. Also with our fans. The fans need to understand to have patience, to wait to rebuild again to a situation they were used to in the past. Now the situation has changed, not only with me but with the other coaches.
“We are working hard with the players and there is great commitment but it’s not enough if we want to be competitive. We have to wait. Step-by-step. And it’s important to be realistic and very clear.”
Conte insisted that Tottenham’s performance on Sunday was one of the best he has seen since he arrived at the club. However, he admitted that the team cannot afford to make the kind of mistakes they did early in the game.
He added: “To describe the defeat is difficult. It was one of the best games we’ve played – we created lots of chances to score.
“We had the possession but it’s also difficult to explain how we started by conceding two goals – it’s difficult to comment on the two goals we conceded.
“It’s not easy when you start the game in this way. Until the end, we pushed and tried to score. We created chances. But we are talking about another defeat. We will continue to work and we have to struggle every time we play to get three points.
“The environment is used to playing for fourth place and Champions League but now I think everybody has to realise something has changed compared to the past.
“We have to know this. I’m doing everything to improve the situation. The environment has to understand our position at this moment.”
Spurs Web Opinion
This is a very clear and direct message to Spurs fans. Coming back from 2-0 down was always going to be difficult but it became near enough impossible due to the atmosphere at the stadium on Sunday.
Fans groaning every misplaced pass was only going to further dent the players’ confidence and make them scared of making mistakes. That has been an issue with our home fans for a long time.
Some fans will say that they have a right to jeer that first-half performance considering the ticket prices they pay. However, that kind of atmosphere is certainly detrimental to the team’s performance.
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