Conte left to rue misfiring attack as Spurs falter

LONDON : Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte said his side needed to do better in attack after another blank day damaged their hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four on Saturday.

For the second match running Tottenham failed to register a goal attempt on target as they drew 0-0 at Brentford, following last week’s 1-0 slip at home to Brighton & Hove Albion.

They went into the Brighton game favourites to grab fourth place and qualify for the Champions League but are now down to fifth, two points behind north London rivals Arsenal with both clubs having five games left to play.

With a home game still to come against Arsenal, the cause is not lost but Conte knows the goals must start to flow again.

“I think defensively we were good today. Offensively we can do much better. But we have to respect the game Brentford played as they played a very good game,” the Italian said.

“We have to continue to do what we are doing and continue to work in the same way. We have to try to do more in possession in the game and to take more responsibility.”

While Tottenham fans will rue the dropped points, Conte said they should realise that at one point this season a top-four finish looked out of the question.

“To stay in this race for a place in the Champions League I think is a big achievement for all the problems this team had this season,” said the former Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan coach, who has instigated a big improvement after taking charge in the wake of Nuno Espirito Santo’s sacking.

“When you climb the mountain and start going up, the difficulty becomes more and more.

“I think in the last two games we have struggled offensively because we found two teams that were very good defensively. In the end this is a consequence of scoring many goals – you start to become a dangerous team, the opponent tries to pay more attention when they face you.

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“Today we wanted to get three points but the draw was fair and we have to accept this kind of result.”

Tottenham were crying out for the flair of their former playmaker Christian Eriksen who was instrumental for Brentford and was the best player on the pitch.

Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest last June at Euro 2020, was up against his former Tottenham team mates for the first time since leaving the club in January 2020 after six-and-a-half years in north London.

The Dane was given a standing ovation from both sets of fans before and after the game.

“It’s emotional to play against him. It’s strange to play against him,” Tottenham defender Eric Dier said. “I’ve spent most of my professional career playing with him.

“I never imagined playing against him under these circumstances. I don’t care if he’s playing against us, I’m just happy he’s healthy. I’m really happy for him and his family.”

Conte added: “He’s incredible on set-pieces and we are talking about a really good player. I was very happy to see him in this fantastic form.”


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