Following a humbling defeat in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final to former club Chelsea, Antonio Conte was not afraid to admit that the gap to the top clubs is clear and that at Stamford Bridge, the difference between Tottenham Hotspur and the Blues was clear to see. Whilst this may not sit well with Spurs fans, Conte is a straight-talking manager and knows that the task ahead of him is a tough one.
Gap to The Top Clubs Clear – Conte Aware of Task Ahead
Chelsea ‘Much Better’
Speaking to Sky Sports following the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, Conte admitted it was a tough game and conceded that his former team, where he won the Premier League title were simply better.
“It was a difficult game, difficult from the start, Chelsea showed to be much better than us,” he said.
Conte has had an impressive start at Spurs becoming the first manager to win his first eight league games but when it comes to winning the major trophies he is under no illusion that the gulf between new club and old is vast at present.
He added: “If you compare the two teams there is not a comparison. We are talking about a team ready to win – today we have seen the difference between the two teams.”
Painful as the words may be, Conte has come into Tottenham following a farcical manager search over the summer of 2021 which ended in the appointment of Nuno Espírito Santo, who had not been on the shortlist despite leaving Wolverhampton Wanderers at the end of the 2020/21 season. Conte took the reigns following Espírito Santo’s sacking and he is now fully aware of the size of the challenge ahead.
Gap to the Top Clubs Further Than Before
Whether it was a veiled dig at his new bosses or just a brutal and honest assessment, only he will know, but his statement that any notion within the club that Spurs are close to their rivals is not right will be ringing in fans ears and those of chairman Daniel Levy.
“But, I know the situation, it is very clear in this moment there is an important gap. We have to try to fight to stay in the league in a good position, but if we think we are close, I think we are not in the right way.”
This was without doubt a reality check for everyone involved with the club.
January Transfer Window Cannot Solve Current Issues
The January transfer window is open and Conte will be looking to strengthen his squad but he has warned against expecting that those issues can be fixed in this window.
He added: “It is not simple to say go in the transfer market, in January it won’t be easy and now the most important thing is to be focused and work to improve.”
Conte has asked for patience as he looks to transform Spurs fortunes and stated that the level at the club has dropped in recent years.
“There is a lot of jobs to do, in this moment, it is very difficult to understand which part you take to improve because there is a lot of situations to improve,” said Conte.
“We need time, and patience. Everyone has to have patience, because Tottenham in the last years the level has dropped a lot and now we have to fight to win every game.”
When Conte finally arrived at Spurs, despite not taking the job in the summer, some were certain that quick success would follow but that notion has been quickly brushed aside by the Italian.
He said: “We have to try to change this situation, slowly, slowly. It is impossible to change the situation in one or two transfer markets.”
Brutal But Honest Assessment From Conte – Gap to The Top Clubs Clear
The defeat to Chelsea was a brutal one with inexplicable errors leading to both goals as Tottenham fell behind 2-0 in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge. In reality, Spurs are lucky to even have any hope of still reaching the Wembley final but the assessment of where Spurs currently are from the manager was brutal.
Tottenham could yet reach the final and even end their wait for a trophy that has been going on since 2008 but when it comes to the Premier League, there is a gulf that Conte has to try and bridge and his words that one or two transfer windows won’t be enough might not be what fans want to hear. However, when you have a manager who had success at Juventus, Inter Milan and Chelsea it would be foolish to give him anything less than time.
They say that honesty is the best policy and it would be a brave person to back against Conte turning Spurs around but his words will certainly have hit home for many. If Daniel Levy thought Jose Mourinho might be a tough manager to deal with, he now knows that his new manager will be his toughest challenge yet and the way to deal with that challenge has to be to offer the patience he has asked for. Most importantly of all, he needs to give him the financial backing to start to bridge what right now is more of a chasm than a gap.