Antonio Conte has urged Tottenham’s players to be ‘dreamers’ in their quest for Premier League glory.
Spurs head coach Conte has played down his side’s title chances, claiming he needs at least two more transfer windows to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool.
But after starting the season with 10 points out of 12, the Italian says his squad must be ambitious and strive to exceed his expectations.
“My players understand my will, my desire to be competitive enough to win something – even in Europe,” he said before visiting London rivals West Ham on Wednesday night.
“But you (the media) know very well and are not stupid and understand the situation.
“We have two top teams ahead of us who have worked with the same coach for 10 years and continue to invest a lot more money than we do.
“But of course we have to be dreamers and work a lot to create something special around us and have a great season.
“We have to do this in our heads. Even if we want to win, we have to want a lot more, a lot more, a lot more. That’s the only way we can push ourselves, create the right atmosphere and become a winner and get that in our heads.
“Our first goal is to improve on last season. This is very important. You can’t build a big, big structure in just nine months — it’s impossible.”
Tottenham finished last season 22 points behind champions City – 21 behind second-placed Liverpool – after Conte succeeded the sacked Nuno Espirito Santo in early November.
They have not won a trophy since winning the League Cup in 2008, while the second of their two top-flight title successes came in 1961.
After the strong start to the season, Conte is preparing for a test run of two games a week until the World Cup break.
The hectic period, which includes Champions League and Carabao Cup matches, begins at the London Stadium against David Moyes’ Hammers and Conte expects a fiery derby atmosphere.
“We’re talking about a very good team that has gained important players in this transfer market,” said Conte, who watched West Ham break their transfer record on Monday by signing Brazil international Lucas Paqueta from Lyon.
“They spent good money getting stronger.
“David Moyes is one of the best (British) managers with the most experience in this league.
“It’s always a difficult game against West Ham. It’s a derby and the atmosphere will be warm. We must be prepared to face all of these situations.”
Meanwhile, Conte has left the door open for disgraced midfielder Harry Winks to rekindle his career in north London after a planned loan in Italy.
The England international, who has not played in the Premier League since February, is on the verge of a temporary move to Serie A club Sampdoria.
“First of all, we’re talking about a really good player,” said the Italian. “Last season he played for us and he played well.
“It (the move) was for the player and the player felt that, to try and play regularly and play every game.
“It will be good for Harry to go outside of England to Italy to play in an important league.
“But he’s on loan, then we’ll see next season. It’s a great signing for Sampdoria if this deal goes through.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/antonio-conte-premier-league-manchester-city-harry-winks-europe-b2156146.html ‘We must be dreamers’: Antonio Conte’s Spurs strive to exceed expectations