Antonio Conte admits scale of Tottenham task has dawned on him - ‘I am not a magician’

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 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Antonio Conte says that three weeks into his reign he is realising the scale of the challenge he faces to transform Tottenham’s fortunes but warned: “I am not a magician”.

The Italian suffered his first defeat since replacing Nuno Espirito Santo in the Spurs dugout as his side slipped to an embarrassing 2-1 loss away to Slovenian minnows NS Mura - who had never previously picked up a point in European competition - on Thursday night.

The result leaves Tottenham’s Europa Conference League fate in the balance and immediately washes away much of the optimism that accompanied Conte’s first Premier League win, against Leeds on Sunday.

The 52-year-old has already spoken repeatedly of the work needed to return Spurs to a position from which they are able to challenge for trophies and the top four, but admitted the size of the task is only now dawning on him.

“I must be honest and tell you that after three and a half weeks, I am starting to understand the situation,” Conte said. “I can tell you that the situation is not simple.

“It is not simple because in this moment, for sure, the level of Tottenham is not so high. There is an important gap to the top teams in England. Of this we must not be scared. I am here to work, here to improve the situation.

“I know that in this moment we need to have patience, time and I am here because I know there are problems to solve. After three-and-a-half weeks, 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 [current] squad. We are Tottenham and Tottenham in this moment, there is an important gap.”

Conte made nine changes to the side that started the win over Leeds but, like his predecessor, had to watch as his second-string failed to take their chance to impress and force their way into his thinking for Sunday’s meeting with Burnley.

The Spurs boss has repeatedly stressed the importance of improving the players currently at his disposal but with the January transfer window little more than a month away, hinted at the need for reinforcements.

 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

“The situation now is starting to be very clear in my mind,” he added. "I like to win, I play to win in every competition that we have to play. This must be the same for my players.

“But at the same time I want to be very honest, we have to work a lot and improve in many, many aspects. We have to do better at many, many things. It is important in football to have vision.

“Where are you now and what do you want in the future and I think to have vision, I am here to help the club in this aspect. The club is outstanding outside, to create a stadium but now we start from behind.

"It is important to know this because I am not a magician and after three weeks I have found players that want to work and have great commitment but sometimes it is not enough.”

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