Conte claims Tottenham lack ‘creative players’ and admits ‘maybe fifth is the best’ they can do

Conte on Tottenham defeat Credit: Alamy
Conte on Tottenham defeat Credit: Alamy

Antonio Conte admitted that Tottenham Hotspur may have to settle for a finish outside of the top four this season after they were beaten 2-0 by Aston Villa.

Tottenham went into their New Year’s Day game against Aston Villa needing a win after they could only draw at Brentford on Boxing Day.

But Spurs were far from their as they struggled to create anything of note in the defeat to Unai Emery’s side.

The Londoners fell behind for a tenth Premier League game in a row when Emiliano Buendia capitalised on an error from Hugo Lloris to make it 1-0.

Villa were able to double their lead with around 15 minutes to go as Douglas Luiz tapped the ball home past the France international.

This result leaves Tottenham fifth in the Premier League but they will be overtaken if Liverpool win their game in hand.

Speaking post-match, Conte suggested that he does not have “many creative players” in his squad.

“In the first half, we played with good intensity. We didn’t concede anything and we found a team that defended too deep and then we conceded this goal and then the confidence dropped for my players,” Conte told BBC Sport.

“We have to know that our life is this. We have to fight every game for one point or for three points. This is the truth, especially when you are without two or three important players and have difficulties.

“We have different characteristics. We don’t have many players who are really good to beat the man. We don’t have many creative players in our team. For sure today was really difficult to find space in the first half.

“I’m sure that if we don’t concede the goal, we could win the game instead. The goal that we conceded killed us in confidence and in many situations for sure. You have to try and improve and develop these players and especially young players to be even stronger.”

On conceding first again: “We have conceded the first goal and for sure we try to play to score goals. There is an opponent like you that can score during the game. We understand very well that the league will be really really difficult for us.

“We have to try to recover all the [injured] players and then we have to know that in every game we have to fight and show that we are strong. The league will be very difficult for us.

“I want to be honest, I want to be very clear. I have said this to the club, I have said my opinions. The fans deserve the best. Maybe to stay in 5th is the best. Maybe 6th, 7th, 5th or 4th is the best.”

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