Antonio Conte has refuted claims that Tottenham Hotspur are a defensive team, insisting that his side could have scored a lot more goals against Arsenal if they had been more clinical in the final third.

As expected, Arsenal dominated possession in the North London derby but Spurs looked threatening on the counter-attack.

The game was finely poised 1-1 at half-time but the home side turned the screw at the start of the second half and retook the lead.

Disaster then struck for Conte’s men as Emerson Royal got a straight red card just after the hour mark, effectively ending Tottenham’s hopes of coming back into the game.

Spurs came under criticism for their performance on Saturday, with the likes of Gary Neville blasted the Lilywhites for their lack of ambition (Gary Neville Podcast).

However, Conte has now remarked that his side had a lot of opportunities on the break against the Gunners and were let down by their final pass.

When asked if it frustrates him to see Tottenham being labelled a defensive team, the Italian told Football.London: “No, I think that for the characteristics of the players we have to defend situations, and if we were able to exploit the situation, especially last passes, we would have been able to score many goals against Arsenal.

“Instead, we made really bad mistakes for the last passes because we had the opportunity to go one-to-one but every team has to think and understand the way to play different games.

“Then I repeat last season we won 3-0 and in the same way then when you lose you have to explain and when you win the opponent has to explain, but for me, it’s important to try to have a plan, to put my players in the best possible situation to exploit their characteristics.

“Otherwise, it can happen that you can concede six, seven or eight goals, in England that happens a lot of times. In my career never, never happened and I don’t like to play open and concede a lot of space and conceded six, seven or eight goals.

“In England happened a lot of times. I won in England and then I won in my past and I think I can teach football to many people.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I think Conte’s point about playing a way that suits the characteristics of the squad, is a bit of a cop-out since he has essentially played the same way at all of his clubs, and he is the one who is putting together the squad.

However, having said that, I do not think it is fair to label Spurs a defensive team as we tend to create a lot of opportunities (not chances) when we do get the ball.

In fact, I thought our game plan worked perfectly in the first half against Arsenal, and I agree with Conte that we could have scored three before the interval had we been more clinical with our final pass.

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