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 opened the campaign with a 4–1 win over Saints, with five of their six summer additions on the bench and Richarlison suspended.
Conte’s side lived up to their pre-season hopes with a ruthless display, as own goals from Ryan Sessegnon, Eric Dier, Mohamed Salisso and a goal from Dejan Klosievski earned them a comeback win.
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 have to earn their place in the team.
“I think I used common sense because in this moment we are starting a new season and the old players had a big success last season to get a place in the Champions League,” said the head coach.
“In the last 10 games I think we played very well and we got great results. My message was very clear that I have a lot of faith in the old players and at the moment they are more reliable than the new players because they need to continue. Work with us and continue to implement football knowledge.
“With the older players, I’m a step ahead. That’s why I want to rely on the older players to start but I think it’s OK after this game and the result of the final. I’m really happy because we have There are new signings going into our process and they will definitely help us improve.
“But they have to know that they have to fight and they have to give me the possibility to rotate.”
Sessegnon, Emerson Royal and Kulusevski all responded to fresh competition for places with best displays, with the English full-back not allowing a single goal and receiving a standing ovation when he was replaced by Perisic just after the hour. took
Conte said: “I am really happy for Cess because we are working very well with him, especially on the physical side because in the past the player had many injuries and after a month or two, then again. Injury, muscle problems”.
“He is doing well and we are giving him stability in the physical aspect. I think it is very important that we sign a player like Ivan Perisic because he [Sessegnon] You can see how to learn something about Ivan. We are talking about a very important player in Ivan who is a top player.
“Sometimes it’s good to bring in players from your own team, even if they’re a bit older. If they’re good players with experience, they can bring that experience to improve the younger players in your squad. I Sessegnon seems to be doing it.
“I was really happy because he played a good game today. Emerson played a good game. Now we have to continue like that.”
James Ward-Prowse’s volley gave the visitors a surprise lead after Sessegnon headed home Kolusevski’s cross behind Kyle Walker-Peters to level the scores.
“If you remember maybe five minutes ago there was a cross and he was behind his opponent – on the bench we were really angry with him,” Conte joked. “Because he has to attack the second post and find the right position.
“After three minutes he scored and we were happy and celebrated a lot because five minutes ago he wasn’t in the same place to score. Today he scored another goal. He was always in our offensive position. It was good. I am happy for him because he has great potential but he has to show that potential.