Antonio Conte has called Tottenham’s four January departures „strange“ and points to past mistakes made in the transfer window as the reason.
But Conte found the recently closed winter window an odd experience, and is hoping Tottenham will „pay more attention“ to avoid a similar situation in the future.
In a press conference ahead of the weekend’s FA Cup game against Brighton, the Tottenham boss said: „The players that went on loan, they needed to play more games. I think it was right for both sides, for the club and also for the players because these players needed to play more games.
„It was strange to send in January three players to go on loan and one player to sell. It means that maybe in the past, you have to see what you did and maybe to understand that there were some mistakes in the past.
„Usually, you buy players to reinforce the team, but in the last few years, if you send away players on loan who you bought in the last two or three years, it means maybe there were something wrong you did in the past.
I think it was a good decision for both sides, for the club and the player. I think Dele needed to have another experience and to have another challenge in his life. He’s a good guy and for sure, I want to tell him thanks for the time that we worked together… Good luck to Dele and the other players that went on loan to other teams.
„Honestly, before I arrived at Tottenham, to read the list of the players of the squad, you considered the players you have in the squad as important players. Ndombele played a lot and it was the same for Lo Celso and Gil.
„Only when you stay in the situation, you understand very well which is the best solution for the club, the players in this moment. To lose four players in January, it is not normal. We shared the decision with the club and the players, but it means that something wrong happened in the past.
„Usually you find a player to reinforce your team and not to lose the player after one or two years. For this reason, we have to play more attention in the future in the market about the choice of the players.“
‘Bentancur, Kulusevski fit Tottenham philosophy’
There were Tottenham incomings too – Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski both arriving from Conte’s former side, Juventus. Bentancur has joined permanently, while Kulusevski signed an 18-month loan deal.
Conte believes the pair fit into the club, and is now focused on improving his squad to close the gap on the teams above them in the Premier League.
The Italian added: „These two players are the right prospect for the Tottenham philosophy. They’re young players, talented players to develop and improve. They are important players in the future, but we know you need time to do this. But for the philosophy of Tottenham, these are two good signings for us.
„The squad is now more complete because if an injury happened, I was in a great difficultly, I was in trouble. For sure now, the squad is more complete.
„We tried to fill the right roles with one midfielder in Bentancur… Kulusevski is a good player. He’s very young, he’s a great talent and he can play like No 10 with the striker and two players behind.
„But at the same time, he has the potential to play at wing-back on the right. He has good quality, he likes to attack, he is good in the one versus one and to create chances for team-mates. I think he’s a good signing for us.
„Now it’s time to work very hard, try to improve. We know very well that there are many teams higher than us and to catch up with them, we need time, patience, to work hard and in the transfer market, you have to not make big mistakes because now, there are many teams that are ahead of us.
„If we to reduce this gap, the mistakes must be minimal in every aspect. On the pitch, outside of the pitch, this is my vision.“
‘Premier League is like a different sport’
Tottenham were also linked to a number of players in the transfer window that eventually secured moves elsewhere. Luis Diaz was snapped up by Liverpool while Adama Traore returned to Barcelona on loan – to name just two.
However, Conte believes the Premier League poses a very different challenge to other leagues, giving him more to consider when picking his transfer targets.
„The club tried to do their best,“ he said. „We know that January is not easy, it’s not simple and I think the club tried to do their best. It’s not easy to sign players, you need to have the availability of the players because you don’t have a lot of options.
„This league is very tough and is different. If you compare this league to another league, it’s like playing another sport. For this reason, when you go to sign a new player, you have to consider many aspects. Not only if he shoots well or he makes an assist, you have to consider the situations because this league is very difficult.
„You can be good, have quality and you can be a creative player, but at the same time, you have to be strong physically, to run a lot, to be resilient. Being part of this league is not simple.
„I hope I transferred my thoughts to the club because I have my vision. I’m here to try and help the club to improve. In the past, I have built good structures, good teams that have lasted over time, also without me.
„It means that maybe if I say something, I have a vision and I see the situation. Here, we need to build a good structure and to create a good foundation and it will be very important to not make mistakes in the future.
„In this moment, many teams are ahead of us and for this reason, to catch up with them, we have to erase the mistakes and to follow this line.“
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