Spurs’ Conte on first Prem win: Fans right to boo


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New Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte said fans were right to boo his team off the pitch at half-time against Leeds United, before the hosts came from behind to win their first Premier League match under the Italian manager.

Spurs trailed to Daniel James’ first Leeds goal shortly before half-time at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the home fans voiced their anger at what was a dismal first-half performance in Conte’s first home Premier League match in charge.

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But second-half strikes from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Sergio Reguilon and a much-improved display from Spurs after the break saw Conte’s side claim an important three points.

“Our fans were not satisfied with the football that we played and I agreed with them,” Conte said in his post-match news conference.

“Leeds play with high intensity and we struggled a lot .They played better than us. They won tackles and we conceded possession too easily.

“In the second half we changed the plan tactically and we started to put pressure [on Leeds]. We created chances, we could have scored more goals. It’s an important win.

“I’m pleased for the players because I changed the plan and they played with personality. To win in this way is good.”

The result moved Spurs to four points of fourth place and the Champions League places, after West Ham, Arsenal and Manchester United all lost this weekend.

“We want to make our fans proud,” Conte added. “They were disappointed — it was the same for me and the players.

“To have this reaction shows we have character, heart, passion. Now we have to continue to improve. The most important word is work, and to make our fans proud.”

Conte has been hired with the objective of returning Spurs to the Champions League, after the north London club dropped out of the competition under Jose Mourinho, a year after reaching the final.

But the former Juventus, Chelsea, Italy and Inter Milan manager admitted there is a “gap” between his side and four other teams in the Premier League.

“For sure we want to fight. We want to improve our position in the table,” Conte said.

“In England the league is very difficult and every game is tough. In this moment there are four teams that for many reasons, they work with the same coach, they invest a lot of money, with these four teams there is a gap.

“But I’m not scared because I trust my players and my squad. We want to fight for the Champions League and if one team makes mistakes we must be there to do our best.”

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