EPL

Conte admits Spurs fans were right to be angry with first half against Leeds

By Sports Desk November 21, 2021

Antonio Conte agreed with Tottenham fans who were angry with the team's display in the first half of their Premier League win over Leeds United on Sunday.

The former Chelsea boss celebrated his first victory since returning to England's top flight as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Sergio Reguilon completed a comeback in north London.

Dan James had given Leeds a half-time lead as Spurs became the first side since at least 2003-04 to go six consecutive halves of Premier League football without managing a shot on target.

Some supporters made their feelings clear and the home side duly responded, Hojbjerg levelling before Reguilon pounced after Eric Dier's free-kick hit the post to secure a 2-1 win.

"This win is very important because we struggled today," Conte told Sky Sports. "We played two different games and they beat us on the tactical aspect in the first half.

"To play against Leeds and against [Marcelo] Bielsa is not easy. We must be satisfied. This is only a point from which to start for the rest of the season.

"We celebrated the win because I think that it was difficult and we knew this. I read the stats of Leeds and they were the first to bring high intensity. In the first half, we struggled a lot because they played better than us, they won tackles and they led the game. We conceded possession too much.

"In the second half, we changed the plan tactically and we started to put pressure in every area of the pitch. We created chances to score and maybe we deserved to score more goals. For sure it's an important win because we needed this.

"After the first half, the fans weren't satisfied with the football and I agreed with them. In the second, we changed it totally. I changed the plan tactically but they then played well and with personality.

"We created difficulties for Leeds in the second half and to win in this way is good as I bring with me and my players two different situations – the first half and the second half."

The result lifted Spurs above Manchester United into seventh in the table, four points behind the top four and 10 adrift of leaders Chelsea.

While he considers them at a disadvantage, Conte sees no reason why his side cannot mount a challenge for a Champions League place over the remaining 26 games.

"For sure we want to fight and try to improve the position in the table," he said. "I must be honest and say that in England the league is very difficult and every game is tough. You can lose points against all the teams.

"At the moment, there are four teams that for many reasons – working with the same coaches or having invested a lot of money – there is a gap to four teams but I'm not scared about this.

"I trust in my players and in this squad. We want to fight to stay close and fight for the Champions League. Then, if there is one team that slips in this season or makes mistakes, we must be there to try to do our best."

Related items

  • Giroud grateful to be learning from Ibrahimovic: 'He's an example for many strikers' Giroud grateful to be learning from Ibrahimovic: 'He's an example for many strikers'

    Olivier Giroud is enjoying his "healthy competition" with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and says his Milan team-mate is pushing him to become a better player.

    Ibrahimovic has made a big impact in his second spell with Milan since returning to the club in January 2020, scoring 36 goals in 66 appearances in all competitions.

    That includes a return of 33 goals in 52 Serie A outings, which is the eighth-most of any player in the division over that period.

    He has been restricted to just 12 starts in all competitions this campaign, but he has again proved his worth by finding the net eight times.

    With his strike against Udinese in December, Ibrahimovic joined Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in scoring 300 career league goals across Europe's top five divisions.

    Amid reports in Italy that Milan are prepared to offer him another contract until the end of next season, Giroud is grateful he has the chance to learn from the 40-year-old.

    "Playing with him is something I see as a challenge, something that pushes me every day," Giroud told the Colinterview - Oh my Goal YouTube channel. 

    "It's an opportunity to have him as my partner, to learn something more. 

    "He's an example for many strikers and when I was young I loved him, both on the pitch and for his strong character, and for the fact that he's demanding every day. 

    "It's a healthy competition between us."

    Giroud has made a steady enough start to life at San Siro after joining from Chelsea last July with six goals and one assist in his first 20 appearances, 11 of those being starts.

    Those six goals have come at a rate of 0.46 per 90 minutes, a tally bettered only by Ibrahimovic (0.67) among Milan players.

    The former Chelsea striker has spent various spells on the sidelines through injury and illness but now feels ready to start contributing more as Milan target a Scudetto success.

    "I had some unusual physical problems. I got COVID in September after what was a good start, and then I had back problems," he said. 

    "I forced it too hard and got hurt after testing negative. I was in the squad for Liverpool, played and got hurt. The pain lasted six weeks and I didn't play for a while. 

    "After that, I had ankle and ischium problems for a month. In the meantime, I did everything to keep fit, I took all preventive measures.

    "But now I feel very good and have the possibility to play without pain. That is a luxury when you are a professional player and above all, when you're 35."

  • Amad Diallo scores with first shot on loan at Rangers Amad Diallo scores with first shot on loan at Rangers

    Amad Diallo required only five minutes to open his Rangers account, scoring with his very first shot in the Scottish Premiership.

    Diallo has joined Rangers on loan from Manchester United after falling down the pecking order at Old Trafford due to a combination of injuries and signings in his position.

    The winger's bid to rediscover peak form and fitness got off to an encouraging start on Saturday, though, as he struck against Ross County.

    Diallo was left with a simple task to turn in the first shot of the match after fine work from Joe Aribo forged an opportunity worth 0.63 expected goals.

    The 19-year-old, who joined United from Atalanta last January, has one goal and one assist in his nine games so far for the Red Devils.

    However, that sole goal, against Milan, came from Diallo's first attempt as a United player – a feat he has now repeated in Scotland.

  • Burnley move for Orsic off after apparent U-turn Burnley move for Orsic off after apparent U-turn

    Burnley's pursuit of Croatia international Mislav Orsic has ended, according to Dinamo Zagreb, his current club.

    Reports revealed Burnley chairman Alan Pace's trip to Zagreb to finalise a £7million deal this week had been in vain as Orsic turned down a move to the Premier League.

    Burnley had been hoping to add the winger to their ranks after recently selling striker Chris Wood to relegation rivals Newcastle United for a fee in the region of £25m.

    However, Dinamo released a statement on Saturday confirming Orsic would be staying at the Stadion Maksimir, saying: "In recent days, great interest of the public and fans has followed the possible transfer of player Mislav Orsic to the English club Burnley.

    "Following this topic, GNK Dinamo informs the public that the decision has been made that Mislav Orsic will remain a Dinamo player and we are looking forward to participating in the continuation of the season together with his teammates and contributing to achieving the goal of winning a new Croatian title."

    Orsic has scored nine goals in 31 appearances in all competitions for Dinamo this season, including a stunning effort against West Ham in the Europa League at the London Stadium.

    He had already made his mark on English football last season with a hat-trick as Dinamo dramatically knocked Jose Mourinho's Tottenham out of the Europa League.

    Dinamo sit top of Croatia's 1. HNL – level on points with second and third place – while Burnley are bottom of the Premier League, albeit with games in hand over their immediate rivals after having several games postponed due to COVID-19.

    Burnley are reportedly in talks to sign striker Wout Weghorst from Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg before Monday's transfer deadline.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.