Antonio Conte sees one real ‘difference’ in the Premier League when it comes to catching Liverpool and Man City. That’s the tough task ahead.
Antonio Conte did transform Tottenham Hotspur last season, turning them into a very good side by the end of the campaign. They certainly weren’t that before he took over.
And having narrowly guided them into the top four ahead of Arsenal, Conte’s natural attention is at the top of the table. That means trying to overhaul Manchester City and Liverpool, however – the most difficult task around.
Just how difficult is it, though? Conte gave his thoughts this week on the power both City and Liverpool have right now.
Antonio Conte on Liverpool and Man City
“Now they are in my opinion in a position that is very difficult for the others to close the gap but we have to do this,” Conte said, per the Liverpool Echo. “Also because to catch City and Liverpool, you have to spend £100million for six players. They go and spend that for one player or two players £100million and this is the difference.
“You have to run behind and they stay in front of you but you know very well they deserve to stay there because they work very well to have the same coach and to back the coach, [Jurgen] Klopp, [Pep] Guardiola and [Thomas] Tuchel and they deserve this.”
Spending isn’t the answer, though – it just makes things easier. It’s also hard to stomach Liverpool and City being lumped together when it comes to spending as they operate at entirely different levels.
That’s not to say that Liverpool haven’t spent, but City’s four centre-backs combine for around £200m. Liverpool’s barely crack £100m. It’s a different game.
Regardless of that, Spurs’ own spending isn’t exactly far behind Liverpool’s. The Reds haven’t got to where they are purely through enormous transfers – most of their signings came with detractors.
Mohamed Salah was a Premier League flop. Virgil van Dijk wasn’t worth anything like the fee they paid. Andy Robertson was relegated with Hull City. Thiago was an injury-prone player who wouldn’t fit the playing style.
So we do resent the idea that Liverpool just spent their way to creating a gap. They’ve done it by transforming players into world-beaters – something Spurs can certainly do themselves. While Conte is right about Klopp earning the club’s backing, spending £100m on a couple of players isn’t the way to catch up.
Patience and smart signings are.