Antonio Conte has delivered a damningly ‘honest’ assessment of Tottenham and insists the level of the side is ‘not so high’ at present.
Tottenham crashed to shock defeat to minnows NS Mura in the Europa Conference League on Thursday evening, the Slovenian side picking up their first points of the campaign and leaving Spurs facing a fight to secure qualification to the last-16.
The north Londoners were reduced to 10 men following Ryan Sessegnon’s first-half red card and crashed to a stoppage-time defeat as Amadej Marosa’s 94th-minute goal sealed a 2-1 win for Mura.
Conte admitted that he is beginning to understand the size of the task in turning Spurs into silverware contenders and insists his side must be prepared to ‘work a lot’ as they bid to bridge the gap to the Premier League’s leading sides.
“I must be honest and tell you that after three-and-a-half weeks, I am starting to understand the situation,” he said. “I can tell you that the situation is not simple. It is not simple because in this moment for sure the level of Tottenham is not so high.
”There is an important gap to the top teams in England. Of this we must not be scared. I am here to work, here to improve the situation. I know that in this moment we need to have patience, time and I am here because I know there are problems to solve.
“After three-and-a-half weeks, I am happy to stay here but at the same time I must be honest and tell you we need to work a lot to improve the quality of the [current] squad. We are Tottenham and Tottenham in this moment, there is an important gap.
“If someone thinks that a new coach arrives and Conte won in the past and then I am a magician. But the only magic I can do is to work. To bring work and work to improve, to bring my methods, my ideas of football. But we have to understand that we need time.
“I want to be honest that we need to work a lot to improve the situation. We need time and patience. I don’t know what happens in the future but I am here because I am happy to stay here, to work for Tottenham.”