Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has explained why he walked down the tunnel straight after his team scored against Bournemouth, while also complaining about his players’ main weakness.
Tottenham ran out 3-2 winners against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium after an eventful game. They may have picked up the points, but Tottenham did not start well. Kieffer Moore gave Bournemouth the lead in the 22nd minute. He finished on his right foot after being played in by Marcus Tavernier.
Tottenham threatened in the 36th minute when Son Heung-min sent a dangerous cross into the box. Bournemouth defender Marco Senesi headed it onto the post as the Cherries got away with it.
Bournemouth went into the break 1-0 up and Moore secured his brace early into the second half. Adam Smith picked the striker out in the penalty area and he bullied Emerson Royal to head in off the crossbar.
Spurs soon got one back though as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sent Ryan Sessegnon off down the left flank. He showed composure to finish past goalkeeper Mark Travers, with the help of the post.
And Spurs got level in the 73rd minute when Travers failed to deal with a corner, allowing Ben Davies to head home.
Conte’s men piled on the pressure and gained the victory thanks to an injury-time Rodrigo Bentancur goal. Son sent a corner in and Bentancur had his first effort blocked, but he made no mistake with the follow-up and fired home.
During his post-match press conference, Conte was asked why he headed straight down the tunnel after Bentancur’s winning goal. Some fans will have seen this as a bizarre reaction given the drama surrounding the victory, and how Conte normally celebrates wildly on the touchline.
But Harry Kane’s disallowed winner against Sporting Lisbon in midweek seems to have taken its toll.
Antonio Conte discusses muted celebrations
“I came back when I knew the goal was regular [given],” Conte said (via football.london). “In my mind and my heart I thought I can have a heart attack because in two days to score and then have a goal disallowed.
“I said I’d go down and then stay calm and then wait for the decision of the referee. But for sure it was great to see the desire of my players and the reaction they had.
“I repeat also the nastiness they put into the pitch because I have seen in the eyes of my players the desire to win this game. Also when we drew 2-2 and then in our mind the only thought was to take the ball and start to play again. This reaction was really positive and I want this from my players.”
Conte added: “I don’t want to think which would be my mood if we lose this game. I have to be honest, and also after the first half my feeling was positive.
“The only situation I ask of my players is to show our personality and take more responsibility because the game was on us. In the second half, despite conceding the second goal, we started to play nasty, with a will and desire. To not only move the ball and show we are good and nice but in an effective way.”
Conte was then asked about his frustrations with Spurs going 2-0 down. He admitted his team’s main problem is that they ‘lose confidence easily’.
“Sometimes it is difficult for me to understand why it happens, some situations,” Conte said. “But I think that we started a path with this group of players. In maybe three or four days we’ll be [at] one year that I stay at Tottenham and work with this group.
“For me these guys are really good guys, really good players. But sometimes they lose confidence easily. I think we have to try to work on this aspect.”
Spurs goalscorer reacts to win
Left wing-back Sessegnon said: “Obviously it was disappointing to be 2-0 down with some lapses in concentration. But we knew if we scored one goal the momentum could switch and that is what happened today.”
Sessegnon was nearly substituted shortly before scoring Spurs’ first goal. When asked about this, he said: “I had a little feeling as I looked over and saw him getting ready to come on. But it is just one of them things.
“I had to make sure to leave my mark just before and thankfully I stayed on for a little bit longer.
“I have a good relationship with him [Conte] and I just try to be as consistent as I can for him.”
Meanwhile, a pundit has told Tottenham how they can save £60million, in a move that he believes “makes a lot of sense”.