‘Were still really deep’ – Pundit hints Conte’s changes will happen slowly

Antonio Conte
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Micah Richards has pointed to how deep Tottenham defended without the ball against Everton in Antonio Conte’s first game in charge to make a point about Eddie Howe’s style of play after his appointment at Newcastle.

Tottenham’s performance at Goodison Park on Sunday certainly had the fingerprints of Conte despite the Italian being at the job for just a few days.

The Lilywhites lined up in a 3-4-3 and there was a solidity to their defence which has been absent for much of the season so far.

The Spurs boss said after the game that he was pleased with the fight his players showed but admitted that they needed to improve in the final third.

On the back of Newcastle replacing Steve Bruce with Howe, who is considered a much more progressive coach than his predecessor, Richards remarked that the former Bournemouth boss should not look to change things overnight.

He pointed to how deep Spurs were defending on Sunday to explain that the Magpies have to transition their approach slowly.

The former Manchester City defender told BBC Radio Five Live Football Daily Podcast: “If they’re (Newcastle) used to a more negative approach, they won’t be able to switch it over overnight.

“Look at Conte, they have great players, but they were still really deep. I think Eddie Howe will be good, we’ve worked with him on Match of the Day 2.

“I love his enthusiasm, I love his ideas. He plays exciting football, but it’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Irrespective of what Richards says here, I do feel there is a misconception among Spurs fans regarding how Conte’s teams play, partly because of him promising “attractive football” in his first interview as Tottenham boss.

I have seen some fans claim on social media that Conte favours a possession-based approach, which could not be further from the truth. His sides certainly are not boring to watch as they create a lot of chances and score goals but they are more than happy to play without the ball against decent sides.

The hallmark of Conte’s sides has always been defensive organisation, everyone’s clear understanding of their tactical roles and their winning mentality. While the Italian’s teams will still be entertaining to watch, those who expect us to dominate possession and press incessantly as we did during the peak Pochettino years, will be disappointed.

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