Former Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has admitted Tottenham are now a completely different proposition to what they were a decade ago but joked he might change the channel when Conte’s men are in Champions League action.
Tottenham will play their first Champions League fixture in two and half years this evening as they kick off their campaign with a clash against Marseille at home.
Conte admitted in his pre-match press conference that he wants his players to enjoy the occasion, given how hard they worked to qualify for the tournament last season (Football.London).
The Lilywhites qualified for Europe’s premier club competition at the expense of their North London rivals, who relinquished the fourth spot in the final three games of the campaign.
Sagna stated that Tottenham as a club are unrecognisable from the one that he faced off against during his time at the Emirates Stadium, and the former Gunners star admitted that he has a begrudging respect for the Lilywhites.
When asked how upsetting it is to see Spurs going strong under Antonio Conte, the Frenchman told Betway (as relayed by The Daily Star): “I don’t want to hear about Tottenham.
“No, only joking. I respect the club and they deserve a lot of credit for what they did to finish in the top four last season.
“I remember Tottenham from before when I played for Arsenal, and it’s now a different club. Different vibe, different environment, different level of professionalism.
“And even if I’m Arsenal inside, I respect Tottenham. I respect the fact that they are now an amazing club with fantastic facilities and players.
“I’m a football lover. I know Tottenham are a quality team and I want to watch quality games – but I might change the channel after a few minutes!”
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The balance of power in North London has certainly shifted since Sagna’s playing days. Spurs fans used to be the ones who were envious of the big Champions League nights at the Emirates but the roles have been reversed now.
It has now been more than five years since Arsenal have been in the Champions League and Spurs have another opportunity to rub it into their rivals’ noses by progressing far in the competition.
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