Antonio Conte has revealed that the Tottenham players are now starting to develop a winning mentality.
The Italian said that while he does not expect his side to win every game, he has been pleased with the way in which his players are now reacting to defeats.
Conte told Football.London: “I think that when I speak about a winning mentality it doesn’t mean you are never going to lose. A winning mentality means you have to approach every game in the right way, to manage the game in the right way. To understand the game.
“I think when we speak about a winning mentality, there is a process, especially for players. They want to win something in their career as they didn’t have a win before. I always said that we improved a lot in many aspects.
“Also I’m starting to feel that the players start to hate to lose. This is very important. The process is complete when after a defeat you go to your house and you are angry. You want to play another game quickly because you want to forget the loss.”
The 52-year-old explained how he and his coaching staff use video analysis after matches to help the players understand which areas they can improve.
He said: “I use video analysis after the game, because in this way you can show both situations, the positive situation, and not the negative situation, but the one that you can improve, to try to avoid next time the mistake or bad decision.
“It’s important to work but always in the right way because the video analysis can be used to try to improve, to avoid next time, but I don’t want to tell them about mistakes – but to make the best decision, and if you use the video in this way it is very important for the development of your team.
“Not to tell a player ‘it’s your fault.’ No, never. I never tell that to my players.”
Conte admitted that he needs more time to learn about all the players in the squad and how each of them can be pushed.
He added: “Don’t forget that I have known these players only for six months. I didn’t have the possibility to work with them for more time, because when you work with more time, you know everything, but when you arrive in this situation, you have to try to understand well different players.
“Some players like to be pushed, some, if you push him, maybe he is not so good. You have to try to find the right balance to take the best of your squad, not just the team but the squad, because we have 22 players and every single player has to be involved if we want to reach the target, and you know that the player that is not going to play every game, you also have to manage that situation.”
Tottenham will want to get back to winning ways against Brentford this evening after their surprise defeat to Brighton last weekend.
Arsenal’s win over Chelsea in mid-week brought the Gunners level on points with Spurs heading into the weekend, with the Lilywhites only ahead of their North London rivals on goal difference.
Conte admitted that the added pressure of the race for fourth is something that his players need to learn to live with.
The Spurs head coach said regarding the race for Champions League qualification: “It’s good to live with the pressure because I don’t remember one team that fought for something important, a title, a trophy, a place in the Champions League, that did not have pressure.
“In my experience as a player and as a manager, when you fight for something important the pressure is with you.
“For this reason, you have to try to use this pressure in a positive way to help you improve the attention, the desire to do everything to win and the desire to avoid defeat, I think this is very important.
“When it happens this type of situation it means you are developing a winning mentality and you are ready to reach your target.
“The target can be a trophy, a title, a place in the Champions League, otherwise, you have to continue to work very hard and to live with this type of situation.
“Otherwise, you are medium player. If you don’t want to have pressure, you have to accept to play without targets and to play in the middle in the table and to enjoy only football.”
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Next season is arguably when we will get to see the best of Conte’s Spurs, once the Italian has had a pre-season to work with the squad. However, getting Champions League football is crucial if we are to attract the calibre players the 52-year-old would want to bring to the club this summer.
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