Antonio Conte warns Tottenham mentality must improve to end trophy drought as he makes Chelsea return

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·3-min read
Antonio Conte warns Tottenham mentality must improve to end trophy drought as he makes Chelsea return
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  • Chelsea
    Chelsea
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Antonio Conte
    Antonio Conte
    Italian association football player and manager
  • Mauricio Pochettino
    Mauricio Pochettino
    Argentine association football player and manager

Antonio Conte has warned the mentality of his players must improve if Tottenham are to end a 14-year trophy drought, as he sought to play down expectations around his improving side ahead of tonight’s clash with Chelsea.

Conte will return to his former club for the first time since leaving Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2018, for the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, as Spurs bid to reach Wembley for the second season running.

But the Italian insists there is no comparing his current squad to Mauricio Pochettino’s brilliant team.

Under Pochettino, Tottenham came close to silverware on a number of occasions, twice mounting title challenges and losing the 2015 EFL Cup Final and the 2019 Champions League Final.

A number of players from the Argentine’s team are still at the club — including Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier and Dele Alli — but Conte says Spurs are “starting again” and believes they need more quality and experience before they are ready to challenge for honours.

As Tottenham seek their first trophy since 2008, Conte says there must be a shift in mentality in the squad and has urged his players to take their job home by spending more time thinking about football.

“Mauricio did a fantastic job here. He took a group of young players and they grew to become one of the contenders for the title,” Conte told Standard Sport.

“I remember my first experience at Chelsea, Tottenham fought with us until the end. The previous season they fought until the end against Leicester.

“And then Tottenham was always in the first four positions. Now they have dropped a bit because many players left for different reasons.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“If we have to compare this Tottenham with the Tottenham of the past, in the past Tottenham was a team with many players with more experience in the League and in this competition. Tottenham had a good momentum in the past to win something.

“Now I think we are starting again to build something important. We lost many, many players compared to the past.

“Now there are young players and we have to wait for them to improve and get experience. Then also [we need] to get the right mentality that you must have for sure to win.

“It means that you must be focused every day and to improve yourself every day. You have to start thinking about football not 24 hours [a day] but more than only two or three hours in your day. In this way you make yourself to be a winner.

“But to do this you need time and you need people that trust you with the right sensation, the right thoughts, every day. You can build a winning mentality but you need time. Especially, you need to have people around you to help build this.”

Conte could be missing players through positive Covid tests at Stamford Bridge tonight, while Cristian Romero, Ryan Sessegnon and Steven Bergwijn remain sidelined through injury.

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