LONDON (AP) — Antonio Conte wants time to implement his vision as Tottenham’s new manager, acknowledging it will be a “big challenge” to right the slumping Premier League club.
The Italian became Tottenham’s third manager in seven months when he replaced Nuno Espirito Santo this week with a contract through the end of the 2022-23 season and an option to extend.
Conte, who led Chelsea to the league title in 2016-17, spoke at a press conference Friday ahead of Sunday’s visit to Everton.
“This is a challenge, a big, big challenge,” he said. “On the pitch, we have to change many, many things.”
Mid-table Tottenham has scored just nine goals in 10 games. Only last-place Norwich has scored fewer. England striker Harry Kane has netted just once in league play after winning the Golden Boot with 23 last season.
Conte, who had been out of work since leaving Inter Milan after winning Serie A in May, won the Premier League title and the FA Cup in his two seasons at Chelsea before leaving in 2018.
His first game in charge of Spurs was a 3-2 home win over Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League on Thursday when they nearly blew a three-goal lead.
“I have seen in these few days that we need to work a lot to improve many aspects for every single player,” the 52-year-old Conte said. “This squad has to work to improve its physical condition, to go into my idea of football, to have more order on the pitch, to be not so emotional during the game, to improve the capacity also to suffer. We have to improve many aspects.”
Tottenham has a new $1.6 billion facility but lacks a long-term plan on the pitch, the new manager said.
“You must have vision. This club had a great vision outside of the pitch,” he said. “Now, I think we have to start to have a vision also on the pitch, on the football topic. This is important if we want to win. The club has showed it worked very well with the stadium, with the training ground.
“Now I think we need time — time and vision,” he continued, “because only if you have a vision in football you can start to build something important for the present, for the future.”
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