Antonio’s verdict on Southampton: “I’ve seen a lot of positives”
Sun 07 August 2022, 09:30|Tottenham Hotspur
Antonio Conte was delighted with the team’s reaction to going a goal down as we recovered to beat Southampton 4-1 on the opening day of the Premier League season on Saturday.
Ryan Sessegnon quickly levelled James Ward-Prowse’s 11th-minute opener and once Eric Dier glanced home Heung-Min Son’s cross for 2-1 on the half-hour, we had lift off at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mohammed Salisu’s own goal on the hour and Dejan Kulusevski’s cool finish two minutes later completed the scoring, and our biggest win on opening day in the Premier League era.
Antonio made only one change to the team that ended last season in style at Norwich City - Cristian Romero back in for Davinson Sanchez - with debuts for Yves Bissouma, Clement Lenglet and Ivan Perisic in the second half.
Speaking to SPURSPLAY afterwards, Antonio told us: “It’s a really good start, despite (the fact) we were 1-0 down after 11 minutes. At that moment, we didn’t deserve to be 1-0 down, we started well, we were leading the game, but you know very well that football is unpredictable.
“I also think it was good for us to see the reaction of the players. We kept calm, continued to play, continued to create good chances to score, and scored twice.
“Today, I have seen a lot of positive things. We are working under many aspects, especially tactically, to try to improve what we did in the past seven months, high pressure, good intensity, the desire to win the ball when we lost it.”
It was certainly noticeable that the likes of Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg were chasing, harrying, hunting down the ball as the clock ticked into 80 minutes, 4-1 up.
“Pierre and Rodrigo played an amazing game, with the ball, without the ball, winning the second ball, the press,” added Antonio. “They played a really good game. The whole team played very well. Now we have to continue. We have to know that with the work we can improve and become stronger than last season.
“We know very well though this is only the first game. We have to be pleased, because this showed the way is right, but, at the same time, we have only just started.”