Soccer  

Antonio Conte: ‘Spurs are defending like relegation team’

Tottenham are defending like a “relegation team” and have “forgotten how to suffer” following a second successive defeat, says Antonio Conte.

That Premier League defeat came four days after losing 2-0 at home to north London rivals Arsenal.

“We have to improve the spirit, the collaboration, the will, the desire, the feeling to suffer,” said Conte.

“Maybe we have forgotten to suffer and to understand that if we want to win the game then maybe you have to stay there, to suffer like last season.”

Tottenham, who take on Fulham on Monday, currently sit fifth in the Premier League table, five points outside the top four, having played an extra game.

They have already conceded 31 league goals this season, just nine fewer than in the entire 2021-22 campaign.

“To concede 21 goals in the last 10 games, this is usually a team that fight in the relegation zone,” added Conte.

“Last season, I don’t remember how many clean sheets with [goalkeeper] Hugo Lloris, but in every game this season we concede at least two goals.

“This is our medium, our average – like a team that is fighting in the relegation zone.”

However, Conte believes the squad are still “making progress in some aspects” but there remains room for improvement.

“In other aspects I think we have to come back like last season and to be a bit more solid, a bit more focused, a bit more nasty,” said Conte.

“We improved in many aspects because this season we are scoring many goals, we create many chances, our organisation to press is much better than last season.”

How to follow Tottenham on the BBC bannerTottenham banner footerEverything you need to know about your Premier League team bannerBBC Sport banner footer