Premier League English

Antonio Conte underlines commitment as Tottenham manager in call for fresh ‘starting point’

Antonio Conte is insistent he is immensely proud to be Tottenham manager, believing that Monday’s 1-0 win at Fulham is a ‘starting point’ for the club as they now focus anew on finishing in the top four.

The only goal of the match was scored by Harry Kane – this being auspiciously his 266th for the club – as he draws level with all-time record-holder Jimmy Greaves, and earning a precious win after consecutive defeats against Arsenal and Manchester City.

The heartening result leaves Tottenham three points off fourth albeit having played one game more.

“I had a good answer from my players,” Conte said after the game. “I asked them for solidity of the last season and the will and desire to fight and to be resilient. A good result for the fans and we showed when you play as a team it is difficult to play against us.

“I was happy with the performance in the last few games but we had two losses, against Arsenal and Manchester City. Today has to be a starting point for us to give everything then we will see what happens at the end.

“We have to try to stay in the race for the Champions League and try to go to the next round in the FA Cup. It was important to speak in the past few days and to explain the situation. Compared to last season, we continued to score goals, but to concede 21 goals in 10 games it wasn’t positive. But I am happy with the response.”

Intriguing reports had surfaced over the weekend that the Italian strategist had decided not to extend his contract. However, when he was questioned by Sky Sports if he was happy at the club, Conte insisted he was.

“I am really proud to be Tottenham manager,” he continued.

“I had the possibility of being the manger of an important club, it makes me proud and this has to be clear to everybody. For this reason I want to fight until the end with my players. We are a team that works a lot and under this aspect I can’t tell anything about my players.

“In the last period, we were sleeping maybe because we we were losing some characteristic from last season. I spoke with my players and I have good players, but especially good men. They understand we have to fight until the end for the important positions, we have to be ready to suffer.

“When I accepted to become Tottenham manager, I was happy and I am happy. In every moment and every second of my day, my first thought is for my player and club and to improve. And to make our fans proud of the team. The Premier League is not simple, it is difficult and there are many clubs ready to spend a lot of money to for the team.

“We are in the right direction then we will see. The most important thing for me is to work with my players and to have a good relationship with the club.”