Permission to dream: Antonio Conte tells Spurs fans it's all systems go for the first half of season
Antonio Conte insists ‘the fans are right to be excited’ as Tottenham boss admits he is a ‘dreamer’ for their busy 99-day spell as they juggle domestic and European commitments ahead of the World Cup break .
- Antonio Conte says Spurs fans ‘have a right to be excited’ ahead of an unusual season
- The 53-year-old Italian said his focus was on the next 99 hectic days of racing
- The Spurs signed six new players for the start of the Premier League early in the window
Antonio Conte has given Tottenham fans permission to dream as he prepares to blast through the first 14-week stage of this unprecedented two-part Premier League season.
“Of course the fans are right to be excited,” said Spurs boss Conte. “I am excited because I am happy and live this time with joy. We are on the right track, on the right track and we can reach an important level.
“I have to be realistic, but I’m a dreamer. We must be dreamers, because if you are dreamers, that, along with the work, can bring you something incredible.
‘At the same time, you have to be realistic. But it’s good that our fans are excited when they see that we are going in the right direction.”
Antonio Conte has boosted competition within the Tottenham squad with six summer signings
After a hectic summer in which he strengthened his squad, Conte’s side will start on Saturday against Southampton, a team that dropped Spurs by five points against last season.
Then they cross London to face Chelsea as the clubs cram 16 Premier League games, plus Europe and Carabao Cup games, into 99 days before top club football takes a six-week break for the World Cup in November.
“This is the first time and we don’t know how best to handle the two parts of the season,” said Conte. “I asked my physical coach to prepare me well for these four months and to focus on these four months.
“The most important thing is not to think about the future. Go step by step, game by game. Then you start the Champions League and you have to conquer your group.
‘A lot of strange things can happen. You don’t know how many injuries you will face or what level your players will reach during the World Cup. We have a strategy and that is to be at the peak of fitness at the end of the first half.
“Then we give these players some rest and restart. We will have to evaluate how players come back. Some will need more rest, others will have to work.’
Conte bought six new players early on to prepare for their Premier League start
Managers have worked all summer to insure themselves against these unknown elements by bolstering their squads.
One team could very well take advantage of an opportunity presented by the random nature of the elements in play, but only if they are prepared.
Optimism is high at Spurs, who signed six players early. “We didn’t wait for the end of the transfer window,” said Conte. “The coach needs time to help players adapt.”
Richarlison is suspended for the opener and Yves Bissouma has doubts. Oliver Skipp (heel) is out.