Tottenham boss Antonio Conte explains ‘simple’ decision to stay and vows: ‘We’re only getting started’

·3-min read
 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)

Antonio Conte says the decision to stay on as Tottenham head coach was “simple” and that the club shares his ambition for the future.

Conte refused to commit to staying at Spurs for the final year of his contract until a crunch meeting with managing director Fabio Paratici a week after guiding the club back into the Champions League on the final day of last season.

The Italian wanted assurances that the club could match his ambition to challenge for titles, and they have moved with unprecedented speed in the transfer market this summer, with five signings already through the door.

Conte insisted Spurs still need “time and patience” to return to the top but says their project is only just gettings started.

“I always said it was very important for me and the club to speak, and to take the best decision for the club, not [only] for myself," Conte tod reporters in Seoul. “It was simple to continue this project because first of all, I have another year of contract. I am totally involved in this project.

“You know very well my ambitions, I want the club to continue to improve. To finish in the top four was a great achievement for us but we have only just started this project.

“We need to have time and patience but it is very important to be stronger than in the past and try to be competitive because we have four competitions and we want to have ambition.

“I have ambition and my players want to be ambitious. It’s the same for the club. To finish in the top four means you can accelerate this process. For sure, the club want to try to build something important for the fans.

“Our ambition has to be to try to improve and be competitive in all the competitions. It means that you need a deep squad because our ambition has to be to be competitive in every competition. Then, I know to win [a trophy] is very difficult."

Summer signings Fraser Forster, Yves Bissouma and Richarlison are expected to make their debuts against a K-League XI at Seoul's World Cup Stadium and Ivan Perisic is also in South Korea with the squad but a doubt to feature after finishing last season with a calf problem.

Spurs' fifth summer addition Clement Lenglet is training in London after signing too late to get a visa for the trip.

Conte still wants to sign a right wing-back - with Spurs talks ongoing for Middlesbrough's Djed Spence - and a creative player, while they will target another defender if Joe Rodon and Japhet Tanganga leave in search of first-team football.

“When the ideas are very clear it’s more simple to go into the transfer window and sign the players," Conte said. “Our plan was very clear about the positions and the roles in which we needed to improve and we did it.

“The club worked very well in this window. For every coach to have the players quickly is very important because you can work with them and try to put them into our idea of football. It was good to sign five players quickly.

“We are always looking to strengthen the squad if there is the opportunity. We want to improve numerically the squad. To play four competitions is difficult. You need a really good squad, with the numerical aspect and the quality aspect. In [the next] two months if there’s the possibility to strengthen the squad, we’ll do it.”

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