Antonio Conte claims Tottenham are still too ‘emotional’ and must ‘improve the personality’ to truly challenge

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Antonio Conte says his improving Tottenham side are still too emotional and that they must learn not to “lose control” if they want to become a “great team”.

Conte’s Spurs are aiming to continue their remarkable uplift when they face Southampton at St. Mary’s on Tuesday.

The 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on Boxing Day made it six League games unbeaten under the Italian and moved Spurs into fifth place – six points behind rivals Arsenal but with three games in hand.

Conte has dismissed comparisons with his title-winning Chelsea side of 2016-17 and says Spurs still have room for improvement in a number of areas, including their ability to control games for 90 minutes.

“From the start until now, the whole team has improved in many aspects,” he said.

“I know it’s not enough. Now we have to continue this way. We know our strengths. We also know our weaknesses. We have to improve our weaknesses to become stronger.

“I tell my players to play football with personality and try to make the best decisions. I think during the game sometimes we live emotional moments and I think we have to improve this aspect.

“We have players with quality, top players in the team, and now we have to improve the personality, control the game, improve the possession, improve the decisions, the final pass, the finishing. I think we can improve a lot in these aspects. [Against Palace] we created a lot of chances and we could have scored more.

“We need to improve the confidence and [show] more personality, to play football and to control more the game.

“Sometimes we lose the control and I think a great team, a big team has to stay in [control in] every moment.”

With Tuesday’s game set to be Tottenham’s third in six days and a second in 48 hours, Conte is conscious of the need to strike a balance between making changes at St. Mary’s and maintaining the “identity” of his improving side.

“It is not easy for us. For every team to play [again] after 48 hours is not simple,” he said.

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

“When you have this type of situation, if you have a strong squad it’s easier, because you can make rotation and try to give rest and have a fresher team.

“We will see on Monday because I want to understand the real physical condition of my squad. It’s normal that when you change many players, it’s not simple.

“You can have a fresh team on one hand but on the other you can lose a bit of identity. We will try and make the best decision but it won’t be easy.”

Conte revealed that Giovani Lo Celso missed the win over Palace with a tight calf but says the Argentine’s latest injury is not considered serious.

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