Journalist Michael Bridge has revealed that Antonio Conte believes that if he had a pre-season at Tottenham Hotspur, he would have led his side to a title challenge.
After a difficult start to the campaign for Spurs coincided with Harry Kane’s form – he failed to score or assist in the opening six Premier League games – the striker’s form changed almost simultaneously with the appointment of Antonio Conte and he ended up with 17 goals and nine assists in the league.
With Conte impressing since his introduction at Spurs, Bridge claimed to This Is Futbol that the club should give Conte full control in terms of summer transfers – and revealed the Italian’s bold claim during his press conference prior to the victory over Norwich City.
Bridge said: “I was in the presser on Friday, and I don’t know if he said it to the embargoed section, but this is what I loved about him.
“He said, ‘if I had the pre-season, we’d have been in the title race, and my ears pricked. I was like, what?
“This guy has so much confidence, and he means it. So if Tottenham can sit down and have a good chat with him and say, ‘look, if these six or seven players who you want are over 25, go for it, mate, because we want to be in the Champions League for the next five years.”
Do you expect Conte to be at Spurs beyond the new season?
TIF Thoughts on Bridge’s comments…
Bridge has claimed that Conte should be given free rein in terms of transfers in the summer, and there are plenty of arguments supporting this, as the impressive performances of January signings Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski – who were ranked third and fourth in terms of average player rating this season – were arguably crucial to Spurs sealing a place in the top four.
With Champions League football returning to Spurs next season, they will be able to attract a higher level of player, and perhaps with the success of Conte in the past, this will also attract players to the club.
Whether the club can go one further under the Italian and stage a title challenge remains to be seen, but it seems clear how high the ambitions of Spurs’ manager are.