Antonio Conte says it was “common sense” not to start any of Tottenham’s new signings against Southampton, saying last season’s players are currently “more reliable”.
Spurs started the campaign with a 4-1 victory over the Saints, with five of their six summer additions on the bench and Richarlison suspended.
Conte’s side justified their pre-season optimism with a ruthless display, as goals from Ryan Sessegnon, Eric Dier, an own goal from Mohammed Salisu and Dejan Kulusevski earned them a comeback victory.
Ivan Perisic, Yves Bissouma and Clement Lenglet all came off the bench in the second half, while Djed Spence and Fraser Forster were unused substitutes. Asked about not starting his new players, Conte said they should earn their place in the squad.
“I think I used common sense because right now we are starting the new season and the former players did a great feat last season to get a place in the Champions League,” said the coach- chief.
“Over the last 10 games I think we have played very well and achieved fantastic results. My message was very clear: I trust the old players a lot and right now they are more reliable than the new ones. players because they must continue to work with us and continue to implement football knowledge.
“With the old ones, I’m on the move. For this reason, I prefer to count on the old ones leaving but I think it was just after this game and the final result. At the same time, I’m having a lot of fun and I I’m really happy because we have new recruits coming into our process and they will definitely help us improve.
“But they have to know they have to fight and they have to give me the chance to rotate.”
Sessegnon, Emerson Royal and Kulusevski all responded to renewed competition for places with excellent performances, with the England full-back also having a goal disallowed and a standing ovation when he was replaced by Perisic just after the hour mark. Game.
“I’m really happy for Sess because we’re working very well with him, especially on a physical level because in the past this player had a lot of injuries and after one or two months, then again an injury, muscle problems,” said Conte said.
“He is working well and we are giving him physical stability. I think it is very important that we sign a player like Ivan Perisic because he [Sessegnon] can see the way to learn something about Ivan. We are talking about a very important player in Ivan, a top player.
“Sometimes it’s good to have players in your team, even if they’re a little over the age. If he is a good player with experience, he can bring that experience to improve the younger players on your team. I think Sessegnon does that.
“I was really happy because today he played a good game. Emerson played a good game. Now we have to keep it that way.
Sessegnon followed Kyle Walker-Peters to drive home Kulusevski’s cross and level the scores after James Ward-Prowse’s volley gave the visitors a surprise lead.
“If you remember maybe five minutes before there was a cross and he was behind his opponent – on the bench we were really mad at him,” Conte joked. “Because he has to attack the far post and find the right position.
“After three minutes he scored and we were delighted and celebrated a lot because five minutes before he was not in the same place to score. Today he scored another goal. He was still in our position attack. It was good. I’m happy for him because he has great potential but he has to show that potential.