Antonio Conte unhappy with demanding fixture list as ‘fatigued’ Tottenham drop points at Southampton

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  • Antonio Conte
    Antonio Conte
    Italian association football player and manager
  • Harry Kane
    Harry Kane
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Fraser Forster
    Fraser Forster
    English association football player (born 1988)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Antonio Conte described Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Southampton as “an opportunity missed” and lamented his Tottenham side for failing to match their hosts’ “intensity”.

Conte became the first Spurs manager to go his first seven league games unbeaten but was left frustrated at sharing the points with a depleted Saints, who played the final 50 minutes with ten men following Mohammed Salisu’s red card.

The defender was sent off for a second bookable offence after a clear foul on Heung-min Son in the area and Harry Kane dispatched the penalty to cancel out James Ward-Prowse’s stunning opening goal.

Spurs were aggrieved at having two goals disallowed in the second-half, with Kane ruled fractionally offside by the VAR before a trademark finish and Matt Doherty penalised for fouling Fraser Forster after the goalkeeper had spilled a cross into his own net.

Conte was nonetheless unhappy at his side's display and by two points dropped, stating that his leggy players felt the strain in a second match in 48 hours.

“For sure, it was an opportunity that we missed,” Conte said. “You try to exploit that situation to try to get three points. We knew very well that playing Southampton in this stadium is not easy.

“One point from the game was positive for us but I think in the second-half we felt fatigue and our minds weren’t clear to make the best decisions.

“This can happen. I tried to change something with the subs. Lucas Moura and [Bryan] Gil [came on], and I decided to change [Sergio] Reguilon because he had a yellow card. I think it was much better in this way but we didn’t find the solution to score. We scored – but at the same time they decided to disallow the goal.

“They were very good, they defended very well and to find space wasn’t easy. But at the same time, we can do much better and move the ball more quickly.

"I think to play after two days – 48 hours – is not easy for every team and I think I’ve seen a bit of fatigue in my players.

"For this reason, we made sometimes not good decisions in the last pass or with [our] finishing. We can do much better but I know very well it’s not easy to play after 48 hours of the previous game.

“I think we're disappointed because obviously the situation we needed to exploit much better than we did. It's okay, it's a draw, I think the players and I need to be disappointed because it was a big opportunity to win the game against a team that is difficult to play. They play in a strong way, physically, and if you do not have the same intensity you risk losing the game.

“My demands are very high as I'm used to playing to be competitive and to win, and for sure for me there's big disappointment that we didn't win. But I understand the situation now and we are to work a lot because it won't be easy to fight for something this season. We needed to improve a lot.”

Even with the benefit of replays, Kane looked onside when collecting Harry Winks’ pass before scoring, while Forster appeared to have already spilled a cross before contract from Doherty. Conte insisted Kane scored twice but refused to directly criticised the officials.

“I think Harry scored twice,” the Italian said. “A penalty and the second goal. I don’t want to comment on the referee’s or VAR’s decisions. They’re there to try to do their best and we hope every time that they make the best decisions.”

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