On Sunday evening, Antonio Conte claimed his first league win at Spurs in front of a delighted crowd.
The first half was concerning for all Spurs fans, but in the second half, the Spurs players kicked into gear. Hojbjerg equalised early on, and then Reguilon sent the Tottenham fans into raptures in the 69th minute.
All of this was thanks to an increased intensity from the players in the second 45, which can be illustrated by the total distance covered by the players.
During the match, Spurs players ran 112km compared to Leeds’ 108km. To outrun one of the highest intensity teams in the league is a remarkable feat.
This stat is even more impressive considering Conte has still hardly trained with the first team. The majority of the starting 11 was on international duty, so limited time was available to Conte and his staff.
However, one of the most incredible things regarding the ‘distance ran’ stat is the difference compared to Nuno. Under the 2 games with Conte, Spurs have recorded over 110km ran. Whilst under Nuno, we ran around 100km frequently, with Palace being our lowest at a staggering 94km ran (skysports).
For the 10 outfield players to run an average of 1.2 km extra each is incredibly impressive. The hope is the players will be able to keep this intensity up, and not fatigue as the season continues.
Some fans might say that the distance run by players is not important. However, under Pochettino, Spurs showed just how important it is.
During his era, there was a high emphasis on pressing. This is only possible by running further, which allowed us to press the opposition into their half, leading to us winning the ball back higher up the pitch and kickstarting fresh attacks.
This worked incredibly well for Spurs from 2015 onwards, so if Conte can bring this intensity back, it is surely a positive thing. However, Spurs fans must remember it will take time to bring this back.
Under Jose and Nuno, many people said that the players became unfit, once again demonstrated by the lack of pressing and lower distance ran stats.
Overall, the signs of progress relating to distance covered was the most impressive thing for me during Conte’s first league home match.
Many people were delighted by the creativity shown in the second half. This was drastically needed considering we had gone six halves without a shot on target, however, for me, this was only a by-product of the increased distance the players were able and willing to cover.
If we can continue to press high, place two men on every ball, and run further than every other team, then this Spurs team will make drastic improvements.
With the chance of the top four still drastically possible, it is vital that Conte continues to implement his ideas. At the end of the day, if the players do not run and perform, Conte will kick them out, so the pressure is on.
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