Tottenham boss Antonio Conte declared himself “happy for different reasons” after his team drew 0-0 at Everton in his first Premier League game in charge of the North London club.
In a cagey affair on Merseyside, Spurs left with a point and a clean sheet, although they were relieved to see referee Chris Kavanagh overturn his own decision to award a penalty to the Toffees in the second half after a VAR check.
The away side hit the post through Giovani Lo Celso in the 88th minute, while Everton went down to ten men in stoppage time when Mason Holgate was given a straight red card just nine minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Despite being denied a victory, Conte said after the game that he was pleased with some of what he saw from his new team.
“Honestly, I have to be happy for different reasons and the first is that Goodison Park is not an easy place to come to play, against Everton, especially when you had a week [that was] very intensive, I am talking emotionally for my players, not for the club,” he told a news conference.
“After we play the game Thursday, I have to be happy because I started to see some tactical situations for sure we can improve and we have a lot of space for improvement. In different situations, tactically, physically but also the mentality.”
1 – Spurs have failed to register a shot on target in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since 2003-04 (when this data is available). Work. pic.twitter.com/LEyl8rUkjB
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 7, 2021
The former Chelsea and Inter boss was not entirely pleased with what he saw from his forward line, with several Spurs attacks breaking down during the course of the game.
Tottenham failed to register a shot on target for the second league game in a row for the first time since this data started being collected by Opta in 2003-04.
“I think we made many mistakes in the final pass. If we made the final pass in the right way, we could have chances to score,” Conte added.
“I said to my players we have to know each other better, and they have to give me the possibility to know them very well. I like to win, and I will pick the players that I think can give us the possibility to win.”
Everton manager Rafael Benitez was left frustrated by the overturned penalty decision, suggesting that had the incident taken place anywhere else on the pitch, a free-kick would have been awarded.
“If it is a foul in the middle of the pitch, it does not matter if he touched the ball a little bit or not. Richarlison touched the ball after the keeper Lloris touched him, so if it’s like that in the middle of the pitch it’s a foul, and in the box it has to be a foul,” he said.
When asked for his thoughts on the penalty, Conte said that he believed it to be the right decision, explaining: “I have seen honestly that Lloris touched the ball before and to make a mistake after you watch VAR for me, it is impossible. Also, I have seen, he took the right decision for me.”
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