Antonio previews Southampton: “We are ready”
Fri 05 August 2022, 17:45|Tottenham Hotspur
Antonio Conte is determined to ‘start in the best way’ as we take on Southampton in our Premier League opener at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday (3pm).
Still buoyed by our end to last term - 10 wins in 14 to secure fourth place and Champions League football - with a full pre-season under our belts and with six summer arrivals, expectations are almost tangible as we prepare to step out in front of our fans again in N17.
Nevertheless, Antonio says we have ‘to pay great attention’ against a team that took four points off us last term, including a 3-2 win here in February.
“We are ready for the start of the season,” Antonio told us on Thursday. “We’re excited to be back in our stadium and to play the first game of the season against Southampton. We’re looking forward to this game. It won’t be easy. You know very well that last season we drew away and then lost at home. For this reason, we have to pay great attention. We are talking about a really good team.
“In the Premier League, you know very well that every game is difficult. You have to know this. I think my players have a lot of experience and we have to manage this game well, to face this game with great attention, great focus. Also, we are talking about the first game, and we want to try to get three points.”
Asked in his pre-match press conference what he expected from Southampton, Antonio replied: “My expectation is to have a different result to last season! This is my first expectation. I hope so because last season we drew away and lost at home to Southampton.
“For this reason, we're talking about a really good team and a really good manager. We have to pay great attention, but we have to start in the best way, to get three points. We're going to play in our stadium, this is the first game, we'll see again our fans. It will be exciting for the players, for me, to play again and go into the new season.”
Asked what he would see as success in 2022/23, Antonio added: “I think my target and the club's target is to try to continue to improve, to develop the process that we started seven months ago.
“t doesn't mean that if you lift a trophy or win the Premier League or the Champions League, or you get a place in the Champions League, that you achieved your target. It means we have to try to develop in every aspect, because my experience tells me we're going in the right direction.”