Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has spoken about how Tottenham have evolved under Antonio Conte and his blossoming partnership with Rodrigo Bentancur.
While there have been some ups and downs in Conte’s first six months at Tottenham, the team is evidently on an upward trajectory.
The Lilywhites have been scoring a lot of goals over the last few months and Hojbjerg admitted the players now have a lot more freedom to express themselves due to their understanding of the system.
The midfielder told The Daily Mail about Conte: “The demand for perfection in training caught my eye straight away. It can be the difference between winning or not, achieving your goals, and being a champion.
“It excited me because you start to look up. He is demanding of us as sportsmen but also gives you responsibility. You are allowed to prepare the best way you see it.
“At the beginning, there was a lot of information to take on board and we played a bit stiff, not expressing ourselves. Not because we weren’t allowed but because we were trying to do the shape so perfect, you forgot a bit of your own game.
“Over time, we have become a bit more flexible. We beat Man City when you need to be in a strong shape, but also had this little touch of freedom, the X-factor.”
While Oliver Skipp was arguably Tottenham’s most consistent performer in the first half of the season, the 21-year-old’s absence has not been felt too much by the Lilywhites thanks to the impressive partnership that Hojbjerg has formed with Bentancur.
When asked about his understanding with the Uruguayan, the former Southampton man responded: “There haven’t been any forced dinner dates for us but sometimes you know there are players where you find a quick understanding,’ he says.
“My best position is deep. I have the eye for choosing the moment when to go forward or to play a ball that can kill but when you have a Harry Kane in your team or a Son, sometimes they do that part for you.
“You need to make sure at the back and behind them, it is clean. Sometimes a strong five-yard pass between two players is enough for Harry, he turns and puts it in or does a great pass for Sonny.”
Spurs sit two points behind their North London rivals Arsenal in the race for fourth, with four games left to go in the campaign.
While Hojbjerg admitted that the team still believe they can get into the Champions League, he outlined that he has even bigger ambitions for the coming years.
He said: “We are capable of finishing in the top four. The Champions League is the big prize, it also shapes the team to maybe one day compete for cups and the Premier League.
“Winning is like a drug. After that, second place is not acceptable. Maybe it’s better I don’t say it but we are closer than we have been.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Hojbjerg and Bentancur certainly complement each other well and the Dane’s form has improved considerably since the Uruguayan’s arrival.
I do believe we can upgrade on Hojbjerg in the summer as his passing is a little inconsistent but I certainly would not be in favour of selling the 26-year-old.
He is a very good option to have in the squad and is a valuable voice to have in the dressing room, given his mentality.
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