EPL

Conte dismisses Chelsea comparisons with 'big job to do' at Tottenham

By Sports Desk December 26, 2021

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte dismissed comparisons between his side and his previous reign at Chelsea as he insisted there is still "a big job to do" with Spurs.

Conte became just the third Spurs manager – after Jacques Santini in 2004 and Tim Sherwood in 2013-14 – to remain unbeaten in their first six league games after a dominant 3-0 victory over 10-man Crystal Palace.

Harry Kane struck first as he scored in his sixth consecutive Boxing Day appearance to match Robbie Fowler's Premier League scoring record of nine goals in games on 26th December.

Lucas Moura doubled the lead just two minutes later before Wilfried Zaha's needless dismissal for two bookable offences, with Son Heung-min sealing victory in the second half.

Spurs remain six points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal but boast three games in hand over their North London rivals. However, Conte refused to draw similarities between his current side and his former Chelsea team.

Asked whether Spurs were building similar momentum to how Chelsea did in their title-winning 2016-17 campaign, Conte responded "No, I think it's different. I don't like to compare different situations. 

"Also because there's too big a difference with my experience in the past. I remember very well I started the season and when you start the season you have the possibility to work with your players and to also make decisions about your players.

"This is different. For sure we have to continue to improve, to exploit the confidence that is going to improve us. We know very well, I know very well, we have a big job to do. It's good to get three points, to score three goals with your three strikers.

"It's good to keep another clean sheet. We have to work very hard to improve the situation."

Lucas scored and assisted in the same Premier League game for the first time, with the Brazil forward registering five goal involvements in his last five appearances in the competition, as many as in his previous 23 matches in the competition.

Conte reserved special praise for Lucas, while outlining the room for improvement within right wing-back Emerson Royal's game.

"I'm happy because they have a good link and connection but for sure Emerson has big space for improvement," Conte said of his Brazil duo.

"Emerson is very young and he has to continue to work. In that side, to have Lucas Moura and this good connection could be good for the whole team.

"I think we have the strikers that are very good at receiving the ball and creating something important, to make assists. At the same time, we have very good strikers when they have space in front of us to attack.

"We're trying to improve both situations. When you find a team that stays in their half, you have to be good to use more quality.

"Not run but to use all your quality to make a good pass, to beat a man in a small space. But for us it's great to have these type of strikers. Steven Bergwijn is another player with these characteristics.

"We have to continue to work and continue this with the strikers. I'm happy today because they scored and they have to thank the rest of the team because they worked very hard to create chances. They scored and I am very happy for them."

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    Palace threw away a 2-0 half-time lead in the second half, and the dramatic victory for the Toffees ensured their Premier League status for another season.

    The delirious home fans descended onto the pitch after the final whistle to celebrate, but one fan approached Vieira and appeared to taunt him.

    The former Arsenal midfielder initially ignored the man, before turning to confront him, seeming to kick out before being ushered away by other Everton supporters.

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    "Of course he ran 80 yards across the pitch and it's not easy."

    This was not the first unsavoury incident to take place in English football in the last week involving pitch invasions, with a Nottingham Forest fan being arrested and later jailed for assaulting Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp following Forest's penalty shoot-out win in the Championship playoff semi-finals on Tuesday.

    There were further concerns raised about fans endangering players during pitch invasions after both League Two playoff games involving Mansfield Town and Northampton Town on Wednesday, and Swindon Town and Port Vale on Thursday.

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    Dele Alli, who has struggled since arriving from Tottenham in the January window, played a huge part in the turnaround after being introduced at the interval.

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