Tottenham boss Antonio Conte believes his former side Chelsea are “more ready” to win trophies than his current employers.
Conte returned to London in early November and remains unbeaten in a club-record eight league games since his arrival, pushing Spurs up to sixth and just two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal while still boasting two games in hand.
The former Inter head coach also oversaw a 2-1 EFL Cup quarter-final win over West Ham, teeing up a double-header with Thomas Tuchel’s side for a place in the final at Wembley.
Spurs have progressed from six of their last eight EFL Cup semi-final ties, failing only in 2006-07 against Arsenal and 2018-19 versus Chelsea, but Conte believes his former club are better prepared for success currently.
“I think that for everyone it’s always very important to win trophies – for the club, for the players, for the managers,” Conte told reporters at Monday’s pre-match news conference.
“On one hand, I have to tell you this. On the other, I think you have to build to win trophies. You can win trophies by speaking and saying you want to win. But then you have to be good and build something ready to win.
“I think at this moment, Chelsea is more ready than us to win. They won last season the Champions League.
“I think we have a lot of space for improvement, to be a team with an aspiration to win. Then for sure, we’ll do everything to reach the final of this trophy.
“But I repeat: to use this verb or word ‘to win’ is more simple than winning because to win you have to build something important, be solid, have an important squad. Then you’re ready to win.”
Conte enjoyed a fruitful spell in charge of Chelsea, leading the Blues to the 2016-17 Premier League title in his first season at the helm before triumphing in the FA Cup the following season.
He then joined Inter, where he again won another league title as he ended the Nerazzurri’s 10-year wait for the Scudetto, before returning to England to manage Spurs.
After numerous successes across varying countries and with numerous teams, Conte feels he has nothing to prove as he prepares to return to Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the semi-final on Wednesday.
“I have to thank Chelsea because they gave me the possibility to work in England and have my first experiences in England,” he added. “Now, for sure, I’m the manager of Tottenham and I want to give this club 100 per cent and more to try to improve the team.
“It’ll be good and for sure I’ll have emotion to come back to Stamford Bridge. We did a really good job and I think in my position I mustn’t prove anything to anyone.
“I’m a manager that has experience and continues to have experience in my career and do important jobs at other teams.”
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