Conte admits the pressure got to Tottenham against AC Milan; bowing out of the Champions League with a whimper
Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has given his reaction to a frustrating 0-0 draw with AC Milan, sending them out of the Champions League on aggregate.
The London club lost the reverse fixture 1-0 at the San Siro, with a goal from Brahim Diaz ultimately proving to be the difference between the two sides.
It was a nervy encounter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with AC Milan determined to keep a clean sheet, and Spurs equally desperate not to concede a goal.
The first half was lacking in chances for both teams, as the Italian side managed the game well and refused to afford space to the likes of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son.
But, the second half was largely much of the same, with Tottenham failing to create any real clear-cut chances throughout, despite stepping up the intensity slightly.
Their task was made even more difficult after Cristian Romero was sent off for a second booking for yet another cynical foul – so he couldn’t complain about the referees’ decision.
Kane had a huge chance to win the game with a header right at the death, forcing a fine save from Mike Maignan, before Divock Origi hit the post for Milan at the other end shortly after.
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Conte: ‘We have taken a step forward this season’
Pressure is now mounting on Conte with Tottenham without a win in their last three games. The Italian took a long time to take his post-match interview, but when he finally surfaced he tried to be as positive as he could.
“That is the third game in a row that we were not able to score. I think the game was in the balance. I think we can do much better offensively. I speak about the whole team not only those who play in the front half. We can do much better,” Conte told BT Sport.
“I can’t tell anything negative about the commitment of the players. They gave everything from the start to the end.
“We finished the game with 10 men. But if I have to see a positive situation, it is that we had a step forward.
“We played in the Europa Conference League last year and weren’t able to get out of the group stages. Now we took a step forward but it is not enough and if we want to be competitive, we have to fight.”
Conte admits the pressure got to Spurs
The Tottenham manager was then pressed on whether his team showed enough intensity to beat AC Milan, in arguably their biggest game of the season.
He replied: “For sure in our mind, it was to put pressure on with intensity but in the first half we found it difficult offensively. We found space to receive the ball and create one-vs-one chances but we struggled.
“We felt a bit of pressure. I think they need to play regularly this type of game to try to improve.
“I think everybody wants to go to the next round. In the first game, we lost a good chance. Milan was without important players, like us.
“We have to continue to work. We have another game that we have to recover for. We have to try to reach the best possible position at the end of the season.”
Ultimately, this was a very disappointing night for Spurs and now it seems very likely that Conte won’t be remaining at the club beyond the end of the season.
Tottenham’s next match comes against Nottingham Forest on Saturday; a must-win – as they look to secure their spot in the Premier League top four.
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