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Antonio Conte warns Tottenham stars it is up to them to impress him ahead of Premier League opener

‘They have to make ME happy’: Antonio Conte warns his Tottenham stars it is up to them to impress him ahead of Premier League opener against Southampton… and insists the squad are still ‘another step’ away from challenging the elite

  • Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has made six signings this transfer window
  • He has boosted competition for places and could still bring in more players
  • Roma’s Nicolo Zainolo is a target, and Conte would like another centre back
  • He warned his players it will be up to them to prove they are worthy of a place 

Antonio Conte warned his Tottenham players on the eve of the season that it is not his job to keep them happy and that it is actually their job to impress him.

Spurs have boosted competition within their squad with six summer recruits and are still in the transfer market for what Conte called ‘common-sense signings’.

Nicolo Zaniolo of Roma is a midfielder in Tottenham’s sights and the head coach would like another central defender to give him more tactical flexibility before the window closes at the end of this month.

Antonio Conte has boosted competition within the Tottenham squad with six summer signings

Antonio Conte has boosted competition within the Tottenham squad with six summer signings

‘They have to make me happy,’ said Conte, smiling but deadly serious, when asked how he could expect to satisfy all his players with regular time ahead of the World Cup in November.

‘Do you understand? With their performances… to make me think who is the better player. You understand? They have to make me happy, OK?’

Those who fail in this regard know what to expect. Conte axed Harry Winks, Sergio Reguilon, Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele from his squad at the start of pre-season and Tottenham are now busily trying to find clubs to buy them or take them on loan.

Tottenham are still 'another step' away from challenging Europe's elite, according to Conte

Tottenham are still ‘another step’ away from challenging Europe’s elite, according to Conte

Conte is getting his way and appears satisfied with the progress made in the nine months since he arrived in November.

‘We’re trying to do things with common sense,’ said the Spurs boss. ‘It’s not simple because I have to try not to make mistakes, especially in the transfer window with the club, but I think we are doing good things with common sense to try to improve the quality, to improve the squad.’

There is a quiet confidence within the camp and excitement among fans as Conte starts his first full season in charge, but he was careful not to promise too much ahead of tomorrow’s opening game at home to Southampton.

‘My target and the club’s target is to continue to improve, to develop the process that we started,’ he said.

Tottenham are still looking to make more summer signings, with Nicolo Zaniolo a target

Tottenham are still looking to make more summer signings, with Nicolo Zaniolo a target

‘It doesn’t mean that if you lift a trophy or win the Premier League or the Champions League, or you get a place in the Champions League you achieved your target. It means we have to try to develop in every aspect. 

‘My experience tells me we’re going in the right direction but at the same time I know the club needs another step before being competitive to the top teams in the Premier League and Europe. We cannot be presumptuous or arrogant. We must work, work, work to try to improve.’

Having finished fourth last season, Spurs must try to make ground on the winning machines of Manchester City and Liverpool, clubs Conte calls ‘monsters’ who keep the chasing pack at bay.

‘Our target it to give Tottenham the stability to stay there,’ said Conte. ‘Then to fight to be competitive and fight to lift a trophy. To become a stable club in a good position.

‘But I know also other clubs want to do the same and for this season it will be very difficult.’




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