Antonio Conte press conference: Transfer window; Mitrovic’s threat; Injury update

Antonio Conte has spoken to the media ahead of Tottenham’s Premier League clash with Fulham on Saturday.

Spurs were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw with London rivals West Ham on Wednesday, while they were unable to bring in any further signings prior to Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Conte was in a chatty mood in his press conference on Friday. Here’s what he had to say.

Transfers

Are you happy with the squad after the transfer window?

“I think that first of all we have to understand that in this transfer window we did what the club could do. And I think that we did good things. But I have to be honest with you because if I see the other squads of the top teams there is still too much distance. And for this reason we have to know that we’ve just started this process to try to improve the squad.

“In this transfer window we tried to do this and also in January, with Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski. In this transfer window, we tried to improve the squad in numerical and quality aspect. For sure to be competitive, to fight to be a title contender, but also to get a place in Champions League, you need at least three transfer windows more before improving and being at the same level as the other top clubs.”

Will you look ahead to the January window if injuries begin to pile up?

“For sure, when you play every three days you risk many injuries and also in the last game we had a problem with Pierre Hojbjerg. When you play so many games in a short time, for sure you have to understand that probably you have to face injuries. For this reason it’s important to have an important squad to face four competitions.

“I always say to you, now the season starts for a club like us. We’re going to play Champions League, not Europa League or Conference League. Europa League or Conference League, you can allow yourself to make big rotations. When you go in the Champions League you have to go with a strong team and for sure the task is harder. But, this is a good opportunity for me, for the club, to understand if we miss something.

“I repeat, we’re going in the right way for the capacity in this moment of the club to invest money. Then we have to be realistic to understand that there are different clubs…clubs who can invest a lot of money, other clubs who can invest normal money and for sure in the path it’s harder under this aspect.

“But we want to continue to improve. We are working very well, I’m happy to have this group of players, this squad, the new players are totally inside the team, inside the dressing room. We did the right things. But if someone thinks we completed the situation…we are very far from this.”

Do Tottenham have an advantage over other clubs because you completed your business early?

“Honestly if you sign a player £100m or £80m on the last day, you have a big advantage because it means you are signing a top player, you understand? You can sign also a player for free or on loan and it is a different situation.

“I want to be very clear. I think we did what we could do and in the right time because the vision was very clear about the money to spend, about to get the free player on loan because then we spent money on two players, Richarlison and then Bissouma.

“The others were on loan or a free but for sure to have a vision and to anticipate and to give the coach the possibility to work from the start I think it means we work very well with a vision very clear, and not wait until the last day for a player to come on loan or to sign a player with characteristics that are not good for our team.”

Fulham

How do you plan on stopping Aleksandar Mitrovic?

“I think that he is in an outstanding moment for him. Last season he scored more than 40 goals and it was a record. He is really dangerous because when there is a ball into the box and you find him. He is strong physically, strong with the header and we are talking about a really, really good player but Fulham impress me.

“They are playing very well, with good intensity and they play two games against strong opponents like Liverpool and Arsenal, also in the last game against Brighton, another really good team. They start very well and we have to pay great attention.

“For us it is the third game in six days and for sure the energy, we have to try to check very well the energy we use tomorrow and to use a lot of brain, not the emotional aspect. Tomorrow it will be to one side to use the brain very well to understand the game because the game will be very difficult, I am sure about it.”


Injuries

What’s the latest team news?

“About Cuti Romero, he’s in the squad. He had two training sessions with us after the game against West Ham. Lucas Moura and Gil are still unavailable for the game against Fulham. Bentancur is OK, he has recovered [from concussion] 100 per cent.”

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