Antonio Conte fires top-four warning to rivals after Tottenham come from behind against Leeds
After arriving later than expected due to training, Eric Dier’s message following two weeks of intense work under Antonio Conte was that the Tottenham players must be ready to change their ways.
It has been an international break packed with running drills and extended sessions for those left at Spurs’ training base at Bulls Cross as Conte implements his plan to revive the club’s season after succeeding Nuno Espirito Santo.
Conte wants his players to live football excellence, which includes diet and lifestyle away from the training pitches.
“The most important thing is that us as players, we are ready to change in whatever way he thinks best for us to be able to improve as a team,” Dier said.
“They are very, very demanding sessions, physically and mentally, but very enjoyable.
“Anyone that was here during the Pochettino days knows what a tough session feels like, and there have certainly been some over the past few weeks.
“Some really tough sessions, running sessions, and working without the ball.
“There’s definitely been some more meetings and some longer sessions on the training ground. Which I think everyone is enjoying, and enjoying working in this way. His attention to detail is incredible, it’s amazing. The amount of information. When we analyse training and games, he makes it so simple to understand. It’s so clear what he wants.
“As a player, you know exactly what he wants because his messages are so clear and understandable.”
Dier could be one of the beneficiaries of Conte’s favoured 3-4-3 system, with Cristian Romero out of the clash against Leeds United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium today, meaning he is likely to be in the back line.
Against Marcelo Bielsa’s team, Dier expects a frenetic encounter, although he says it is difficult to say that Conte’s system is any particular formation as he is constantly changing it within matches. “One of the things is just to see the tactical system with five at the back that is so dynamic and constantly moving. Player positionings are constantly moving, so it is difficult to call it any kind of tactical set-up,” he said.
“I’ve played against it in the past when the manager was at Chelsea and remember those games very well and trying to contain his system. Now being the protagonists of it is really interesting, and I am playing it in a way I’ve never played it before.
“We faced Leeds last season and it’s controlled chaos from them. They know what they are doing, but they try to cause the other team to feel that it is completely chaotic.”
While Dier has played in every Premier League game this season, others such as Dele Alli will be hoping to force their way into Conte’s plans after being left out of the team under Nuno.
“When a new manager comes in there tends to be a freshness around the building, everyone feels like they are starting from zero again, there is a clean slate,” Dier said. “There is that freshness to things.
“I think what is important is that once we get past that phase that everyone maintains that level of intensity in their work, that we build a very strong group here and are all working in the right way with the right mentality.
“That is the most important thing, to strive to improve as a group and get back to where we want to be.”