Antonio Conte impressed by Harry Winks, Dele Alli and Ryan Sessegnon after rare Tottenham starts vs Liverpool

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  • Harry Winks
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Antonio Conte
    Antonio Conte
    Italian association football player and manager
  • Andrew Robertson
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  • Harry Kane
    Harry Kane
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  • Ryan Sessegnon
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  • Dele Alli
    Dele Alli
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Dele Alli was handed a rare Tottenham start by Antonio Conte against Liverpool  (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
Dele Alli was handed a rare Tottenham start by Antonio Conte against Liverpool (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Antonio Conte was encouraged by the performances of Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Ryan Sessegnon as Tottenham returned to action with a pulsating 2-2 draw against Liverpool.

The English trio all impressed on rare League starts as Conte was forced to tweak his personnel and formation following Spurs’ Covid-19 outbreak.

Winks was involved in both the hosts’ goals, winning a tackle in the build-up to Harry Kane opening the scoring and then setting up Heung-min Son to make it 2-2 after Liverpool had come from behind through Diogo Jota and Andy Robertson – who was later sent off.

Dele, who started in a three-man midfield with Winks and Tanguy Ndombele, missed a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 when Alisson spectacularly saved his shot but was at his most menacing in the League for months, while Sessegnon coped well on his first League start since January 2020.

Asked about the return of Dele and Winks from the cold, the Spurs manager said: “I think a good performance. I didn’t have doubts about this.

“Harry Winks is working very hard. He impressed me in training sessions with his commitment, his will, his desire. I think he’s a really good player.

“When we play in this way, with this formation, with a No4 in front of the three central defenders, I think he’s very, very good. A good performance from him and Dele played a good game.

“If we play with a 3-5-2, he’s a midfielder who’s good physically, good technique, good penetration because he can attack. He had chances to score but good performance. Also Sessegnon. I know if we want to improve our level, I need to improve every single player. This is the only way, the only path we have.

"I know if we improve every single player, we improve the level of this team. Otherwise it will be very difficult to be competitive.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Along with Dele's effort, Son and Kane also squandered gilt-edged opportunities as Spurs were left to rue to a succession of misses, leaving Conte with mixed emotions afterwards.

“On the one hand, I think we had a good performance,” he said. “Great commitment, great desire to take points against a strong team, against – for me – one of the best teams in the world at the moment, not only Europe. To get a point would be good on one hand, on the other when you create this many chances, you have to kill your opponent and get three points.

"We have to be a bit disappointed. We have to go home happy. But half and half. Happy but a bit disappointed because we had an important chance to get three points against Liverpool.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was incensed with referee Paul Tierney, who sent off Robertson for a rash challenge on Emerson Royal after viewing the monitor on advice from the VAR.

Kane was only booked for a similarly reckless challenge on the left-back in the first half, which Klopp said could have broken Robertson’s leg, while the German was also furious that Jota did not win a penalty after going down under Royal’s challenge.

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

Spurs had their own reasons to feel aggrieved, with Dele denied a spot-kick for an apparent shove and Mo Salah appearing to handle the ball in the build-up to Robertson’s close-range header.

Conte said he had not seen the key incidents back but revealed his staff had told him it was “incredible” that Liverpool’s second goal stood.

“I haven’t seen the Robertson or Kane situations, and the possibility of the penalty,” he said.

“My staff said to me the second goal was a clear handball. A clear handball. I think it’s not right to comment on refereeing decisions after the game. I don’t know if Jurgen wanted to comment on this but I can tell you my staff said it was incredible to give the second goal and not disallow it because there was a clear handball from Salah.

“But it was an exciting game with great emotions from the people and I don’t like that we have to speak about refereeing decisions at the end. It’s not good for anyone.”

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