Antonio Conte on ‘great power’ Tottenham and ‘world’s best’ Harry Kane in past remarks

·4-min read
 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

Tottenham are closing in on the appointment of Antonio Conte as their new manager, bringing the Italian back to the Premier League three years after his sacking by Chelsea.

Conte and Spurs have history, with the club under Mauricio Pochettino his biggest threat to the league title in 2016-17 and - the same season - he beat them in the FA Cup semi-finals on the way to lifting the cup.

As such, there is plenty Conte has said to say about Tottenham during his two-year spell in English football.

It’s not always positive - he was Chelsea manager after all - but his comments about Pochettino’s work and Harry Kane’s talent are particularly interesting.

Here’s some of the best...

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

‘The difference between Chelsea and Tottenham’

“The difference between Chelsea and Tottenham is this — if you are with Chelsea and win, it’s normal,” he explained in April 2017.

“If you are with Tottenham and win, it’s great. But if you lose, it’s not a disaster because you find a   lot of situations to explain a good season. Yet in this season, we are at the same level.

“Chelsea were underdogs at the start of the season but now we are top and want to keep this position.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

‘If Tottenham lose, it’s not a tragedy’

Conte double-down on the comparisons are few months later, telling reporters in July 2017: “If [Spurs] don’t win the title, it’s not a tragedy.

“If they don’t arrive in the Champions League, it’s not a tragedy. If they go out in the first round of the Champions League, it’s not a tragedy. If they go out after the first game that they play in the Europa League, it’s not a tragedy.

“Maybe for Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and - I don’t know - Liverpool, it is a tragedy. You must understand the status of the team.

“Every team has to understand what their ambitions are. If their ambitions are to fight for the title or win the Champions League, you must buy expensive players. Otherwise you continue to stay in your level. It’s simple.”

“My question is this: What are Tottenham’s expectations?”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

‘Tottenham are a great power’

More positive, if not a little spiky, remarks, also from 2017.

“Tottenham must finish being considered underdogs,” he said. “They are a great power in English football.

This is the third year for them working together and it’s the right moment to finish talking about themselves as an underdog and find this excuse.

“Tottenham is a great team and they are, for the second consecutive year, fighting for the title. Last season they missed this, and this season they’re trying again. In the future Tottenham will stay to fight in every game for the title.

“They are full of great players. They are building something important and this is their third year.

“There is a moment to finish considering yourself an underdog. This is the right moment.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

‘I want to build the same solid foundation’

A hat tip to Pochettino’s work at Tottenham, Conte ahead of the 2017-18 season credited how the club was set up for success.

“He created a great foundation for his club and we must do the same,” Conte said.

“I want to help my club to build the same solid foundation. We lost a lot of players in the last few years who created this basis for us.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

‘If I had to buy one striker, it would be Kane’

Finally, one to really get tongues wagging as, in July 2017, Conte laid clear his admiration for Harry Kane.

Will he still be his striker for the next season?

Conte said: “Tottenham is a really good squad if they are able to keep all the players. For me, [Harry] Kane, now, is one of the best strikers in the world. If I had to buy one striker I would go to Kane. He is a complete striker.

“He is strong physically, with the ball, without the ball, he fights and he’s strong in the air and acrobatic on the right and the left. He’s a complete player.

"He’s one of the top strikers in the world. If you go to buy Kane now it would be at least £100m, at least. For me, if I see this price for a striker I know for sure he’s a big striker.”

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