Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte claimed winning trophies in Europe is easier than succeeding in England ahead of an FA Cup clash with Middlesbrough.
Spurs sit seventh in the Premier League after a 4-0 demolition of Leeds United, five points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, who have played a game more.
Conte’s side are still in contention for the FA Cup as well, in which they face Chris Wilder’s Middlesbrough on Tuesday, while the north London club were knocked out in the EFL Cup semi-final by Chelsea, who lost the final to Liverpool on Sunday.
Conte insisted it will be a difficult challenge to lift a domestic trophy at the end of the season, given the quality of competition in England.
“To win trophies in England, as I said before, is very difficult,” he told reporters at Monday’s pre-match news conference. “At the moment it’s easier to win in Europe than England.
“When you start to play the quarter-final, semi-final, final, you have to fight against a top, top team that probably could play the final of the Champions League. It’s important to continue to go through in this trophy.
“This happened in the EFL Cup, don’t underestimate the semi-final Tottenham reached, because the final was Chelsea versus Liverpool, so to reach the semi-final was a good result for Tottenham.
“This has to be a boost to push us to improve the level, to be competitive, to try to meet a trophy as soon as possible, because if I speak about the future, you don’t understand the time that we need.
“It’ll be important to improve the level and fight to win a trophy. But I repeat, to win a trophy now is very difficult.”
“I hope to see a good game, to see good football, but at the same time a great desire to go to the next round”
Watch Antonio Conte’s pre-Middlesbrough press conference
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 28, 2022
Conte reached successive FA Cup finals during his two-season stint at Chelsea, overcoming Manchester United in the latter in 2018.
The Italian is hoping to reach Wembley Stadium for a third time this campaign, but implored his side to show greater consistency if they are to end the club’s wait for silverware.
“I’m not desperate but you know very well I want to win,” he added.
“But I’m not desperate or it would be very hard to continue. For sure it’s a great competition and previously I was lucky to reach the [FA Cup] final two years in a row.
“I’d like to continue this tradition for Tottenham, especially for my players, especially the fans and the club, not only for me.
“But you know this trophy is not simple or easy, and tomorrow we have to face Middlesbrough, a tough game. Middlesbrough eliminated Manchester United from this competition.
“I want to see continuity in the performance and result of my players. We need continuity to show that in defeat we are learning something more.
“Also I want to celebrate the game between Chelsea and Liverpool yesterday, it was a great, exciting game to watch.
“This also underlines how difficult it is to win trophies in this country. It was amazing for me and all the people in other countries to watch this game.
“Great congratulations from me to Chelsea and Liverpool, the players, the coach, for the fans, for the total environment it was a fantastic advert for football. I think that England has to be proud about this.”
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