New Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte called the goalless draw with Everton a “good start” but admitted he does not like drawing games.
After a scrappy affair low on quality, there was no instant bounce for Spurs, who were well organised at Goodison Park but lacked a cutting edge in the final third. Giovani Lo Celso hit the post with two minutes remaining but Tottenham have now failed to score in their last three games in the Premier League, a run of 347 minutes without a goal, and they have not had a shot on target for their last 225 minutes of league football.
“I started to work with my players on Wednesday. We’ve had two games that were vitally important as we needed to win in the Conference League – we want to be competitive in that competition to give satisfaction to our fans. Then to play at Everton is not a good place for the opponent. I have seen some situations in the tactical aspects but the situations I liked were the players wanted to fight. This is the best news.
“The game against Vitesse was important as we could use video to show the players what we want. For sure, we made mistakes. But we need to work and memorise situations with the ball. We need to understand very well when to go and press to break the defensive line. Usually I’m not happy after a draw, but the work is the only medicine for us.”
Things could have been worse for Spurs had referee Chris Kavanagh not overturned his second-half decision to award a penalty for a Hugo Lloris foul on Richarlison, having viewed the pitchside monitor.
Conte and opposite number Rafael Benitez were at odds over whether that was the correct course of action.
“My view is very simple – if VAR calls you and you go and watch you see then it is difficult to make a mistake,” said Conte.
“I have seen and Lloris has touched the ball before. To make a mistake after watching VAR is impossible and I am sure in this situation he took the right decision for him.”
Benitez, however, disagreed.
“It is a foul [if it happens] in the middle of the pitch, it doesn’t matter if he touched the ball or not as Richarlison touched the ball after the ‘keeper touched him,” he said.
“In the middle of the pitch it is a foul so in the box it has to be foul.”