Antonio Conte accepts ‘long road’ ahead for Spurs to develop ‘winning mentality’

Wolves were 2-0 winners at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

Antonio Conte knows Spurs have a lot of work to do (David Cliff/AP)
Antonio Conte knows Spurs have a lot of work to do (David Cliff/AP)

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte said his players have to be able to survive his demands if they are to develop a winning mentality after another disappointing result.

Spurs saw their hopes of a top-four finish suffer a huge blow with a 2-0 home defeat to Wolves who overtook them in the table after scoring two goals inside the first 20 minutes.

The visitors’ win, courtesy of goals from Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker, enhanced their own chances of Champions League qualification.

It was a third straight Premier League loss for Spurs, hot on the heels of Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Southampton, with Conte again spelling out just how far his side are from challenging at the top end of the Premier League.

“The problem is that you cannot buy the winning mentality,” the Italian said. “You transfer it day by day and (you are) not sure that (it is) day by day, because there are players that are more open and they understand the process quickly, other players need more time to understand this.

“Winning mentality in my opinion means when you play, (thinking) ‘I am ready to kill you and to live’. This is the difference in every duel, every second ball, every set-piece.

“When you show better desire than your opponent, when you understand the defeats have to hurt you a lot, not a little… This is not simple.

“The confidence and pressure is part of our job – the pressure for me, the pressure for the players.

“I think this type of situation is part of our job. If you remember, when I spoke about improving many aspects, it wasn’t only today after two defeats in a row at home I tell you a different situation.

“I continue to tell the same things. There is a long road, a long path in front of us. Long. It’s important for us not to be scared to face this path.

“For sure there are many aspects to improve. It’s difficult today to speak about the game because for me in my opinion the game was good, the performance was also good.

“We created many chances against a team with the second best defence after Man City. Despite this we created many chances to score, we had the possession. 

“But we are talking about a 2-0 defeat against Wolverhampton and for sure we have to improve and to live with a lack of confidence.

“Because it can happen. We have to be good to live with the pressure. Otherwise it will be difficult.”

Bruno Lage meanwhile, was not letting his Wolves side turn their attentions to their own battle, despite the statement win.

Wolves are very much in contention for Champions League qualification after going under the radar this season and kept on the coat-tails of Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham above them.

But the former Benfica coach insisted he was not dreaming of the promised land just yet.

“I will not dream, I will only dream of Leicester, they are a very strong team, very hard to beat,” Lage said, talking of next week’s game against the Foxes.

“Every game is a hard game that is why in the last week I have been talking about character. I don’t believe to talk about dream.

“(We will) continue to work hard, the way we are working. One day at a time, training by training, game and game. We cannot think about too much in the future.

“The goal is every time to improve the way we are working. The most important thing is that. I don’t promise anything.

“For me the challenge is to recover the team, try to understand our game to try to decide our best XI to go on the pitch and try to play the way we played today.”

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