Antonio Conte knows Tottenham are still far from fighting for the title

Antonio Conte believes Tottenham are moving in the right direction after a busy summer transfer window, but has warned that he cannot yet focus on closing the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool.

Spurs made six major signings after a strong finish last season that saw them beat rivals Arsenal for fourth place and Champions League qualification.

Tottenham kick off their new home campaign against Southampton on Saturday but the Italian has tried to downplay the possibility of battling Premier League champions City and Liverpool, who have had their respective managers Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in position for more than six years. . .

“I think we’re heading in the right direction, but you know very well that you need to have a little patience,” Conte said.

“We know that in England it is difficult to fight to win, but we want to try to be competitive, to try to improve on last season and that is our objective. If you ask me about City or Liverpool, my answer is that we are talking about two of the best clubs in the world who have worked under the same managers for seven (sic) years.

“Now they are, in my opinion, in a position where it is very difficult for others to close the gap, but we have to do it. Also because (to get) a City and a Liverpool you have to spend £100m for six players, they go and spend that for one player or two players £100m and that’s the difference.

“You have to run behind and they get ahead of you, but you know very well that they deserve to be there because they work very well to have the same coach and support the coach, Klopp, Guardiola and (Thomas) Tuchel and they deserve it. this.

“To become a strong team, you need stability and vision. The idea has to be very clear and then you will see that it goes step by step and tries to close that gap.”

Ivan Perisic joined Tottenham this summer (Steve Welsh/PA)

After taking over Tottenham in November, Conte experienced several ups and downs during his first few months in charge.

The 53-year-old managed to guide the Spurs into the top four but demanded that his ambition be matched later in the campaign.

The answer was the permanent signings of Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Yves Bissouma, Richarlison and Djed Spence, while defender Clement Lenglet joined on loan from Barcelona.

But Conte is not getting ahead of himself when it comes to competing with City and Liverpool, adding: “Our aim at this point is not to close the gap.

“It’s trying to be better compared to last season. We know that last season we got to fourth place and in my opinion it was a big, big achievement, especially because we finished the season with just 13 players.

“The first objective, our objective, the objective of the club was to try to improve the squad in quality and numerically, because also with the numerical aspect of the squad it was not enough. It was our first target.

“So you know very well that you can’t achieve the best, the great in just one year or just after seven months. You know you need a little patience, but at the same time it’s important to have ambition to try to be competitive, to try to fight for the best.

“Ambition has to be the best. So the reality can be different but our ambition, because this kind of ambition can push me, push my players, the club, without being presumptuous or arrogant I repeat, but this ambition has to push us to give 120 percent in all the days of our life in our work”.

Spurs will be without Oliver Skipp (heel) on Saturday and need to check on Bissouma’s new signing due to a minor hamstring problem. Summer mate Richarlison is suspended.

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