Antonio Conte explained why he isn’t all that concerned after Tottenham lost to Arsenal on home soil in the league for the first time since 2014, and lauded one Gunners star in particular.
Tottenham were made to pay for a lacklustre first half after falling to a bruising 2-0 defeat against bitter rivals Arsenal.
Hugo Lloris’ form at club-level has been questioned this season, and the France international made headlines for all the wrong reasons once again.
A Bukayo Saka shot from an acute angle took a slight deflection off Ryan Sessegnon and Lloris couldn’t react quickly enough, tamely bobbling the ball into his own net to concede the game’s opener.
Arsenal were playing at a different level of intensity and could’ve quickly doubled the lead through Thomas Partey. The midfielder clattered the woodwork when coming close with a crisply-struck long-range volley.
It mattered not, however, when Martin Odegaard soon doubled the lead before the break with an arrowed finish into the bottom corner.
Tottenham showed greater spirit and determination after the break, and ultimately wound up leading the contest in the shots attempted and shots on target categories.
However, Aaron Ramsdale was equal to everything Spurs could muster and time ran out before they could atone for their first half fumble.
There was a notable flashpoint at the final whistle when a coming together between Ransdale and Richarlison sparked ugly scenes.
Ramsdale was visibly angered after being kicked by a Tottenham fan who scaled an advertising hoarding. His reaction prompted both sets of players to converge and will be an incident the football authorities will no doubt take a close look at.
Conte compares Arsenal to Man City; not worried by Spurs defeat
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Conte said: “It was difficult to come back after we conceded two goals.
“When we conceded the first we had the possibility to level the game with Sonny and the keeper made a fantastic save.
“Then they scored the second goal. It could have killed everybody but not my players as in the second half we tried with big effort to score and create problems for Arsenal.
“The keeper made fantastic saves today. Arsenal is a difficult opponent now like Man City. Both teams are going to contend for the Premier League title.
“We played against a strong team but at the same time I’ve not got great disappointment for the commitment of my players.
“They showed great will and desire to try and come back. Sometimes in the past we did, but today I think their keeper was really good.
“Arsenal showed to be a really good team. It wasn’t easy for them to play against us in this atmosphere but the have a great balance and suffer in the right moments. They showed great resilience in the second half.
“When a team does this it means they are ready to fight to win the title with Man City I think they are the only two teams who can fight for the Premier League this season.”
On Tottenham’s top-four chances, the Italian added: “We have to continue to work really hard and we will see our position at the end of the season, be it a Champions League or Europa League.
“Teams like Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, Newcastle, also Brighton and Brentford. It is really difficult because every team can spend money and even middle or lower teams have international players.”
Conte and Dier condemn Tottenham fan, Ramsdale incident
On the Ramsdale incident, Conte concluded: “I didn’t see it.
“I only see a big confusion and you are telling me now what happened. If it happened it is not good.
“We always have to show respect for an opponent and the players. I don’t like it.”
Eric Dier also spoke to Sky Sports, and the incident involving Ramsdale and a Tottenham fan was broached.
While Dier stressed he hadn’t seen the fan’s action, he branded the moment “unacceptable” after learning of what transpired.
“I didn’t see it but obviously it is unacceptable and it shouldn’t have happened,” said the centre-half. “There’s nothing more I can say.”
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