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“Control the game less”: Antonio Conte explains reason behind Spurs pattern of play, and his ‘doubt’ about front trio.

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Tottenham Hotspur's Italian head coach Antonio Conte reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group D football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in London, on October 12, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Conte admits ‘doubts’ about playing Kane, Son and Richarlison together. 

Ever since Kulusevski arrived from Juventus last January, Conte’s preference has been to have him on the right of the front three, operating as a link man between Kane, Son and the rest of the team. When Richarlison arrived from Everton in the summer, the presumption was he would rotate with the front-line players, while not necessarily being an automatic starter.

Conte himself admitted on Friday that initially, he did not think playing Kane, Son and Richarlison together would work, because it would leave the team too top-heavy.

The 22-year-old Swede Winger can create something out of nothing for his team-mates. He said in  pre-season that his favoured role is as a number 10 and he brings that playmaking ability to his wide play, constantly looking to create for those around him.

Without him, a front three of Son Heung-min, Kane and Richarlison lack the missing link. Son and Richarlison play a direct game rather than a creative one.

Speaking at his Friday press conference, that this[playing with three strikers] changes how Spurs play, forcing them to be “more direct” and to “control the game less”. But he is still happy with the results.

“I think when we play with three strikers, you have to know that your type of game is more direct. Not with a lot of possession because you have three strikers, only two midfielders,” he said. “On one side, you control the game less but on another side you know you have three strikers with Sonny, Harry and Richarlison. With the rest of the team, we have to put them in the best situation to score.”

Honestly, at the start, I had some doubts about the balance to put three strikers like Richy, Harry and Sonny, because you know very well you have to attack, but at the same time it’s important to have a good balance if you want to be competitive.

“But then when it happened, I had always a great answer about Richy, Sonny and Kane because we are talking about three strikers, but three strikers who work a lot for the team. This is why I think we can play with these three strikers because they give us a lot of potentiality offensively, but at the same time, defensively, we have a good balance.”

 

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