Antonio Conte has insisted that Tottenham are several years away from becoming a top Premier League side after losing to Chelsea for the third time in the space of as many weeks on Sunday evening. The Italian boss, who has gained a reputation for failing to stay at clubs on a long-term basis, watched his team struggle to keep up with the Blues for the vast majority of the match at Stamford Bridge.
Two second-half goals from Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva condemned the visitors to yet another defeat at the hands of their cross-city rivals to cap off a dominant performance from the hosts.
Meanwhile, Spurs will feel aggrieved after Harry Kane’s early strike was controversially ruled out, but Conte’s men were unable to lay a glove on their opponents after the interval and have no room to complain about the result.
Conte issued a grim warning after the full-time whistle by declaring that his side are still a number of years away from performing on a par with the likes of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table on a consistent basis.
“To be an important team, you need important players. At the moment we are far away. It takes time, years,” the Spurs boss told BBC Radio 5 Live.
His response suggests that he may not be around to lead the club towards the summit of the Premier League table if his track record as a manager is taken into account.
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Conte has failed to spend any longer than three years at any of his previous clubs and is only contracted to Spurs until the end of next season.
He went on to issue a thinly-veiled cry for help in the transfer market by insisting that new bodies will be required in order to stand any chance of a top-four finish this season.
“This is not the right moment to speak, the club know very well what I think,” the 52-year-old told Sky Sports.
“There is not one transfer market to close the gap. The last few years this gap became very big and now it is not simple to find a solution in a short time.
“I am only focused to work until the end, we have four months to try and give everything, but if we think we solve with the transfer market the situation, it is not the reality.
“You need many years, but for sure we have to start. You have to sell or loan players and it is difficult and then you have to find the right players for you.
“You can only start this process but you need many years. It won’t be easy, I spoke with the club and am totally in this position of the club to work and improve the situation on the pitch.
“I am enjoying my time in Tottenham, we have four months to work and get the best possible result. I am proud of the effort, sometimes you can push 100 per cent but it is not enough.”
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Conte also refused to shed any light on the potential situation involving Dele Alli, who was left out of the matchday squad for the short trip to Chelsea.
The midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to Newcastle United on loan until the end of the season after failing to stamp his authority at Spurs under Conte’s guidance.
“I don’t want to comment on single players,” explained Conte when quizzed on Alli’s immediate future.
“There is the club to make the best decision. There is a sporting director and chairman and they take the last decision.”
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