Antonio Conte has insisted that Tottenham Hotspur are not contenders for the Premier League title this season after watching Manchester United dominate his side at Old Trafford last night.
Tottenham came into the fixture seven points ahead of United and a victory for the north Londoners would have moved them up to second in the table.
Conte reverted to a 3-5-2- with Yves Bissouma coming in as an additional central midfield option in place of the injured Richarlison. Tottenham certainly had Hugo Lloris to thank that the scoreline only ended in a 2-0 defeat with the French World Cup winner pulling off a string of impressive saves to deny the likes of Marcus Rashford.
The Italian admitted that his side continue to struggle against the top teams in the league having lost away to Arsenal and only managed a last-minute equaliser at Chelsea to salvage a draw.
He told Football.London: “We have to be honest; United deserved to win and deserved to get three points. They started the game very well and created chances to score. In our side, we didn’t start the game, and it was really difficult also because we made a lot of mistakes, simple. For sure not a good game for us, but I have to be honest, and first of all, especially with my players, this was not the first time for us. Despite the table being good but every time we played a high-level game, we struggled.
“We struggled against Chelsea because we drew after 92 minutes, but Chelsea dominated the game, and with Arsenal, we lost, and today against United, we lost. For sure, when the level is high, we are going to struggle. This means we have to continue to work to try to improve, to work on the pitch and to work outside the pitch, and I think for sure because sometimes I listen that we are title contenders and I think we need time, in only 10 or 11 months, you cannot pass from ninth place to become the title contenders a year after, especially when you finish 20 points less than the monsters in England.”
Conte has to take some of the responsibility for the defeat and it was surprising to see that he did not look to change things as soon as the second goal went in. Spurs looked flat and were completely overrun in midfield, despite having three players in there. Simple passes went astray and poor defensive decisions ended up proving costly.