Antonio Conte 'starting to understand' challenge of Tottenham job
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Tottenham were humiliated in the Europa Conference League on Thursday night as they were defeated 2-1 by NS Mura. The Slovenian minnows hadn’t picked up a single point in the competition before they faced Spurs but claimed victory after a strike from Amadej Marosa deep into stoppage time at the end of the second-half.
Spurs went behind after 11 minutes as Tommy Horvat opened the scoring for the hosts.
And the north London team were dealt a huge blow just after the half-hour mark as Ryan Sessegnon was sent off for a second mistimed tackle.
Harry Kane had drawn his side level with 18 minutes remaining, but Spurs were stunned at the death.
The result means Tottenham have now won just two of their five games in the European third-tier competition this season.
The Lilywhites are now four points behind Group G leaders Rennes and level on points with Vitesse Arnhem ahead of their final group stage game next month.
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Thursday’s performance illustrated the sorry state Tottenham currently find themselves, and their manager Antonio Conte may struggle to live up the quotes he made in 2018 when he was Chelsea boss.
Conte led the Blues to the Premier League title in 2017 and backed that up with FA Cup glory a year later.
And following Chelsea’s triumph over Manchester United in the Cup final at Wembley, the Italian claimed he was a ‘serial winner.’
“I also think in a difficult season like this, I showed I’m a serial winner,” Conte bragged after Chelsea had missed out on Champions League qualification by finishing fifth in the top-flight.
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“To win in this way this season gives me more satisfaction than my wins in the past.”
Conte was subsequently sacked by Chelsea as the west Londoners chose to replace him with Maurizio Sarri.
Tottenham’s new boss certainly has a big task on his hands if he is to reverse his side’s fortunes over the coming months, and we will find out just what he is made of in what is arguably his biggest challenge yet as a manager.
Conte admitted it won’t be easy to turn Spurs into a successful side.
“I did not like what happened tonight,” he hissed after Thursday’s defeat in Europe.
“I must be honest and tell you that after three-and-a-half weeks, I am starting to understand the situation.
“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 squad.
“We are Tottenham and in this moment there is an important gap [to the top teams in England].
“It is not simple because, in this moment for sure, the level of Tottenham is not so high.
“I have found players that want to work and have great commitment – but sometimes it is not enough.
“We need time, but we have to do better in everything, everything, everything.”
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