For the first time, Tottenham Hotspur head coach, Antonio Conte has revealed his desire to remain at the club for another season.
The Lilywhites have enjoyed some highs and endured some lows under the Italian so far, with his tenure showing both progress and inconsistency.
A historic 3-2 win away to Man City was followed up by a 1-0 defeat to relegation-threatened Burnley. Then a 4-0 victory over Leeds United was followed by an FA Cup exit at the hands of Middlesbrough.
With Tottenham beating Everton 5-0 last time out, Spurs fans will be understandably nervous about what is to come at Old Trafford against Man United tomorrow.
But it appears Conte is keen to stick around and win trophies with Spurs, as long as the club back up their ambition with facts – assumedly a nod towards the summer transfer window.
Conte said (Football London): “For sure at the moment there is only one truth – I am committed to this club for another year,” he said. “The club wanted this type of situation and I accepted it because it was good to get to know each other.
“After four months I think the club have understood the way I want to work and I understand the club. We have three more months till the end of the season to continue to improve our knowledge of each other and then to find the best solution for both.
“I can tell you that I am enjoying working for this club and I would like to fight for something important for this club. For sure it is true that I would like this – to fight for the future, to fight to be competitive, to fight to win and not only to finish fourth in the league, because I repeat, that is not my ambition.
“My ambition is to be competitive and to fight to win. I want this and I know my heart, my soul, my mind wants these things. I hope myself and the club match each other in this situation.
“I think it is very important to develop a good vision, because if you have a good vision in football and you have a lot of hope, you can be successful.
“In January we showed that we have just started to try to improve the situation. For sure, to be competitive and become stronger and win the league and to fight to stay in the top four, we need a big, big improvement.
“We have started to do this with these players because we are working really well and in my opinion are improving a lot, but for sure, you need in the future to have other important steps and to have ambition.
“And it needs to be ambition with facts and not only with words to become stronger.”
When asked about the gap between his Tottenham side and the top clubs in the Premier League, Conte was keen to postpone his answer for a few months.
He replied: “I am really curious to finish the season and to give you the right answer. At the moment I can tell you that from when I arrived in Tottenham we have improved a lot on many aspects, tactical and technical, physical and mental aspects.
“I know I was the first to say that I don’t want to see up and down up and down. I want to see a stable team. I think we are improving a lot in many aspects.
“We are trying to reduce this gap that exists because in this moment in this league in my opinion – and I say my opinion but my opinion is normally true – there is Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. They are at the top, top, top.
“At the moment you have to hope that one of the teams fail to finish in the top four. If that situation happens for sure we need to stay very close and in the first position to try to fight until the end for a place in the Champions League.
“Also I want to put to myself the pressure and also the whole environment and also the players because I think the players deserve this type of pressure because it has to be a good pressure.
“They are working hard and improving and it is important to know for the players that we can start to be competitive and fight and then we will see what happens at the end of the season.
“Honestly in this moment, I don’t know the way that we can finish the season. What I can tell you and I am sure about this, we are doing a really important job, really important work every day and we are creating a really good team with a good idea of football and I can tell you this.
“I don’t know if it will be enough to reach the top four in this season but we want to try to fight and for this season I improved our level of ambition as now I am asking to my players to fight for this target but before I asked to my players, I asked myself to do this because I think we need to have this type of ambition.”
When asked why Tottenham’s best games had come against the toughest opposition, such as the 3-2 win over Man City and the 2-2 draw with Liverpool, Conte said: “I think that we played other good games, honestly.
For sure, when you have a good result against a top team, usually you can think that the performance was better or was the best that you had in your time in Tottenham.
“I think that with Liverpool the situation was that we played after 15 days without a game. It was Covid period. My team was affected with Covid and it was the same for Liverpool, no? I think that this game was good but I have to take into consideration many aspects.
“Against Manchester City, we played a really good game. No Covid. The last game was not played 15 days ago and I think it was different, no? The situation to make an evaluation. It was better, I think, against City than against Liverpool.”
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