Former PL defender thinks some Spurs players will struggle in Champions League

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Champions League
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Sky Sports pundit and former Premier League defender Michah Richards thinks Conte’s players ‘won’t know what’s hit them’ when playing in the Champions League this season (JOE).

Tottenham endured a transitional season last year, beginning the campaign with Nuno Esperito Santo after Jose Mourinho’s departure the season prior. After a run of poor results and fan backlash, Nuno was fired, quickly followed by the arrival of Antonio Conte.

Despite inheriting a ‘really poor’ squad as Conte told Sky Sports after his team’s victory against Southampton on Saturday, the Italian led Tottenham to fourth place and the Champions League places (Mirror).

In the same interview, Conte elaborated: “The message was very clear that we’ve signed new players to improve our squad because our squad was really poor last season and the Champions League spot was a big achievement.

“Our first goal was to improve the squad, not just players physically but also mentally. We wanted the right players for my philosophy.

“Being happy or not happy was not the problem. It was finding a solution to playing four competitions – to do this you need a squad of 20-22 players and honestly last season was really poor in the medical aspect. We have improved that aspect.”

Clearly, the club have taken Conte’s opinions on board, signing Richarlison, Ivan Perisic, Yves Bissouma, Djed Spence, Clement Lenglet, and Fraser Forster to bolster the squad this summer.

Perisic, Lenglet, and Forster have Champions League pedigree as well as a wealth of wisdom they can mentor their less experienced teammates with. But don’t be mistaken, there are many existing Tottenham players who have similar experience.

Players such as Harry Kane, Heung Min Son, Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez, and Ben Davies were important parts of the squad during Tottenham’s time playing in the illustrious competition under Pochettino’s reign.

Antonio Conte himself will compete in his sixth Champions League campaign this season, and therefore has ample experience in the competition.

Michah Richards told JOE (10/08/22 11:59 to 14:45): “If Kane and Son are tired, and they’ve gone to extra time [in the Champions League], although they’ve got Richarlison, it’s still a drop off [in quality].

“A lot of those players won’t know what’s hit them when they play in the Champions League.”

Spurs Web Opinion:

Spurs haven’t played Champions League football in three years, so I can understand where Richards is coming from, but many of the club’s players, as well as their manager, have significant minutes in the competition under their belt.

The squad has been strengthened greatly which will allow Conte to rotate without a huge drop in quality. Any team has to endure a drop in quality if they rest their best players, so I don’t agree with his argument about Richarlison coming in for Kane or Son.

Additionally, Conte’s defensively solid, but lightning in transition football could be perfect for the Champions League as Tottenham will be underdogs for most matchups against the top sides.

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