Antonio Conte has opened up on his demands for ‘intensity’ from his Spurs squad as he praises this weekend’s opponents, Liverpool, as a model for success.
Spurs have won three of their five games in all competitions since Antonio Conte’s appointment, though their progress has somewhat been halted after a coronavirus outbreak that has seen their last three fixtures postponed.
As we have become accustomed to, Conte has cut an animated figure on the touchline, the passionate Italian gesturing and cajoling his players from the sidelines, with the Spurs boss saying he wants his players to feel like he is ‘with them on the pitch’.
“I like to play with my players,” he told Sky Sports. “I live in a high-intensity way.
“When you start to play against your opponent, I want my players to know I am with them on the pitch and also try to help them if they don’t find a good solution.”
His energy from the sidelines has been transferred onto the pitch, with Spurs covering on average over 10km more than they did under Nuno Espírito Santo, under whom, they were consistently being outworked by their opponent.
Conte says that a ‘good physical condition’ is key to Premier League success, as he demands intensity on both the pitch and in training.
“I think if you want to have a good team, ambition to work on many aspects [is necessary] – and not only tactical aspects but also physical aspects,” Conte said. “[In the Premier League], you need to have a good physical condition.
“We want to bring intensity and have intensity during training sessions. For this reason, it’s very important the team [work with staff on this].”
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Conte is of course a serial winner, winning titles in each of his last three roles at Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan. However, Spurs are without a major trophy since their league cup triumph in 2008, though the Italian said he hasn’t discussed the prospect of returning silverware to the North London side.
“Honestly, we didn’t speak about this [target],” he admitted.
“I wanted to come to Tottenham because I found their characteristics were what I like to work with: fantastic training ground and stadium. I, and people, know very well that, in this moment, we have just started our work. We need patience.
“When you start to work, you have to work on many aspects, there are also psychological aspects.”
Spurs face Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, Jurgen Klopp having transformed the Anfield outfit from top four contenders to regular title challengers, all while imposing his high-intensity football philosophy upon the side. Conte believes that Spurs can learn a lot from how the German has transformed the Merseyside club, though warned that such an improvement requires ‘work, time, patience and investment’.
“On Sunday, we play against a team that can teach us a lot, because I think Jurgen Klopp, when he arrived at Liverpool, he started a fantastic job. But the first season they didn’t [achieve] so much, but the work began.
“If you want to reach this level, you need work, time, patience and investment [on transfers].”
As for Sunday’s encounter, he said: “Liverpool have many solutions during the game. It won’t be easy but we have to work as a team. We prepare for the game.
“We know very well we are facing one of the best teams in the world, but, at the same time, I think that it’s good to have this type of game, because we want to understand [how to face] these top teams.”