Tottenham proved Antonio Conte’s biggest concern correct in Bournemouth win

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

Tottenham recovered from 2-0 down to earn a dramatic stoppage-time win over Bournemouth in a comeback which will do nothing to convince Antonio Conte he is mistaken about the quality and depth of his squad.

A stirring victory, sealed by Rodrigo Bentancur's cool 92nd-minute winner, could prove an important turning point in Spurs' season and stops the rot after consecutive league defeats - and with Liverpool the visitors next weekend.

The game was the perfect example of Spurs' tendency to start slowly and rally, and underlined the sense that they cannot maintain their intensity for 90 minutes.

It also demonstrated, not for the first time this season, that Conte's side are simply nowhere near the same when key players are missing.

The head coach has consistently talked down the depth of his squad and recently claimed Spurs effectively cannot compete in the Premier League and Champions League without major reinforcements.

With Tuesday's "final" against Marseille in the Champions League in mind, Conte made changes to his preferred XI, with Eric Dier missing a first game of the season and Bentancur sitting out for only the second time.

The gamble backfired, and inside 50 minutes Spurs trailed 2-0 to well-taken goals by Kieffer Moore.

Both the Welshman's fine finishes - one with his right foot, the other with his head - were the result of sloppy Spurs defending, as the absence of Dier was keenly felt in a chaotic back three.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Ryan Sessegnon's deflected strike dragged Spurs back into the game and Conte immediately responded by sending on Dier and Bentancur in place of the disappointing Davinson Sanchez and Yves Bissouma.

After a pedestrian first half, when only Harry Kane looked likely to make something happen, Spurs were transformed in the final half-an-hour, laying siege to Bournemouth's goal.

Ben Davies headed home a corner from another substitute, Ivan Perisic, to equalise and Spurs' strength from set pieces was again on show for the winner.

With time running out, Bentancur saw his header from Heung-min Son's corner blocked but reacted quickly to coolly finish into the top corner.

The introduction of the Uruguayan and Dier on 58 minutes turned the game, with Bentancur adding composure and purpose to the midfield.

The languid midfielder made Spurs tick again, and they were soon tightening the screw against a Cherries side who dropped deeper and deeper, playing into the visitors' hands. Dier also enjoyed himself in an unfamiliar role on the right of the back three, rampaging forward and sending a number of dangerous crosses into the box.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

While Conte will have been encouraged by the result and particularly the character shown by his side, he will surely be reluctant to drop key players again, which is a significant problem given the schedule. January signings feel like a must.

Last weekend, Spurs went down 2-1 to Newcastle when Pierre-Emile Hiojbjerg and Cristian Romero were missing, and a worry for the head coach is that his side are barely able to function without his preferred XI on the pitch in full.

Conte must also address his side's sluggish starts and inability to compete when they allow the intensity to drop. As Hugo Lloris said in midweek, Spurs cannot maintain their levels for a full 90 minutes given the current schedule but they must find a way to stay in games in the periods when they drop off. Here, Bournemouth found it far too easy to establish a 2-0 lead and hold Spurs at arms' length.

Conte, though, will ultimately be relieved and encouraged by a win that keeps Spurs on track to finish the half-season well but will only have confirmed what the Italian already knew about his players.