Tanguy Ndombele: Antonio Conte says Tottenham midfielder must ‘be better’ after he is booed off by Spurs fans

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  • Antonio Conte
    Antonio Conte
    Italian association football player and manager
  • Lucas Moura
    Lucas Moura
    Brazilian association football player
  • Harry Kane
    Harry Kane
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  • Oliver Skipp
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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Antonio Conte says Tanguy Ndombele must “be better” to change the opinions of the Tottenham fans, who booed off the midfielder in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Morecambe.

Ndombele was booed as he left the pitch at walking pace after being replaced by Oliver Skipp on 69 minutes, with Spurs trailing 1-0 to Antony O’Connor first-half goal in the FA Cup third round.

Conte’s introduction of Skipp, along with Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, turned the game, with Harry Winks equalising five minutes later and Lucas and Kane both scoring late.

Ndombele, the much maligned club-record signing, trudged straight down the tunnel after he was booed off but Conte afterwards refused to criticise the Frenchman.

“I was so focused on the game because we were losing 1-0,” Conte said, when asked about the boos. “This type of situation [happens] in football.

“You have to be good to try to change opinions if someone is disappointed with you. It’s normal. I was a player and it happened sometimes to me that someone was unhappy with my performance. This is our life. I repeat, it’s OK. We have to continue to work and try to be better next time.

“We have to know very well that if we perform well, the fans are happy. If you don’t perform well, the fans are not happy. This is football. If we think the fans have to be happy any time, if you win or lose, I think that’s not right. Me, for sure, when I don’t win, I’m not happy, I am upset and I think that is OK.”

The game followed a familiar script for Spurs, with their second-string underwhelming before being bailed out by star forwards Kane and Lucas.

“We struggled to be creative and also to score goals,” Conte said.

“We had some chances but not too many. At the end, I think we have to be a bit disappointed because I think we can do much better. But our target in the end was to go to the next round and give a chance to players who didn’t play so much in the last period. Our target was to give rest to players who have played a lot of games in this busy period.

“In the end, it’s OK. We mustn’t be happy, for sure, but we reached the target and that’s all.

“In this type of game it’s right to give chances, to give opportunities to the players who weren’t playing for a long time.

“One of these players is Giovani Lo Celso, he was injured for a long time and I think this type of game helped him to find a good fit. At the same time you have to know that to reach the result and go to the next round, you have to find a good balance in this type of situation.

“I think that we have to do much better and also to know that we have to struggle. We have to struggle. Also today we struggled and we have to know that if the situation is this we have to be prepared to struggle this season and stop.”

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