‘We have to build’ – Conte insists Spurs need more time to compete, despite dwindling contract

On the back of Tottenham’s elimination from the Champions League, Antonio Conte has suggested that AC Milan are far ahead of where his side are, given that they lifted the Scudetto last season.

Spurs needed to win on Wednesday to stay in the competition after their 1-0 loss in the first leg at the San Siro last month.

Pedro Porro
(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

However, one would not have thought that from the Lilywhites’ approach to the game as the home side lacked urgency and failed to put their opponents under pressure in either half, with the Serie A club walking away with a relatively comfortable draw.

The result means that Tottenham’s trophy drought will continue for another season and has raised serious question marks over Conte’s future at the club.

However, the 53-year-old suggested that Milan’s win was not a surprise, remarking that the loss against Sheffield United in the FA Cup last week was a much bigger blow.

Despite claiming that Spurs need time to build, Conte’s contract is up in the summer and he even hinted at the possibility of a sacking last night (Athletic).

When asked what his plans are for the rest of the season, Conte responded (via Football.London): “I think for sure the game in the FA Cup was really, really bad.

“It was really, really bad and the players know very well that we missed a big chance to continue to stay and fight for a trophy. Today I think in this type of game and there is a big difference with the opponent.

“Today you played against Milan who last season won the league in Italy. We are talking about a big team, with a big story, a great team. We cannot compare these two defeats.

“The reality is we are out from FA Cup and now Champions League. Yeah, what I can tell you is we are working.

“We are working to try to improve and to go step by step but if someone thinks that in one day, one year, you start to win? It is difficult.

“I know that to win you have to build, you need time and you have to go step by step and to accept this type of defeat.

“This defeat because I think Sheffield United was unacceptable, but today, for the opponent, for the trophy we play, I don’t like to lose but it can happen during a path to have this type of situation, especially I repeat because last season don’t forget we play Conference League and two years ago Europa League.

“Now we are playing again Champions League but to play Champions League you know you have to improve your level because the level is high.

“In Premier League it is really difficult because you can see in the table really strong teams who stay in difficult position but we have to know that it’s not easy.

“At the same time the only way is to continue to work. I am really sorry for the fans, I am really sorry for the fans but we cannot invent the win.

“This is important to know this. We cannot invent the win or hope for a miracle one day that a trophy go into our training ground or pitch.

“We have to build and have patience. I understand for the fans, they don’t have patience because for a long time, Tottenham is not winning but what I can promise is that we continue to work really hard for this club to try to improve and then we see what happen.”

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This sort of excuse is certainly not acceptable as Milan themselves are having an average campaign this time out and their performances across the two legs were far from exceptional.

In fact, one can argue that they were there for the taking but Conte’s risk-averse game plan meant that they were not put under pressure in either leg.

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