Conte claims Tottenham star is ‘totally involved’ despite January exit rumours
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte claims one star is ‘totally involved’ despite rumours linking him with a January exit.
The team’s most recent outing was a 2-1 home win over West Ham in the Carabao Cup. Steven Bergwijn, in the starting lineup for the first time under Conte, put Tottenham ahead with 29 minutes gone.
The winger played a nice one-two with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before finding the net from close range.
But Jarrod Bowen had West Ham level just minutes later. The Englishman showed nice feet in the box before beating Hugo Lloris with his right foot.
Tottenham went ahead for the second time soon afterwards, thanks to Brazilian forward Lucas Moura. Bergwijn beat his man before putting it on a plate for Moura to finish.
The result sent Spurs into the semi-final of the competition, where they will face Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
Bergwijn put in an impressive performance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which comes amid rumours of a January transfer. Dutch giants Ajax are supposedly eyeing his signature.
But the 24-year-old could have a run in the side after impressing Conte while numerous players were out with Covid.
Covid outbreak helped Bergwijn, says manager
“I think these two weeks that we had many players with Covid helped me and helped Steven Bergwijn to understand very well what I want from him and what I want from the other 11 players we had in training,” the Italian told reporters.
“Don’t forget, for many days we trained with only 11 or 12 players. On one hand, it was very difficult. On the other hand, we exploited this situation to improve the players.
“We prepared to play the games with these players. For sure, Steven should have played against Leicester, against Brighton, the games that were postponed.
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“With him and also other players, we tried to exploit the period when we were only 11 or 12 players, to improve these players.
“Now Steven is a player totally involved into what I want, into what I ask from my players. Don’t forget that I like to have a plan and I like to give options to my players.
“Every single player has to know what I want during the game offensively and defensively.”
‘Difficult’ to win trophy in England – Conte
Reacting to the win over the Hammers, Conte said: “It’s good for Tottenham to reach the semi-finals of this competition. You can see the names of these teams that have reached the semi-finals – Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal with us – so every side wants to try to lift this trophy.
“When I was at Chelsea this trophy was not second, but we used to play young players that did not start in the 11. Now I’m seeing in England to win a trophy is very difficult.
“We have had to beat an important team like West Ham and they eliminated [Manchester] United and [Manchester] City. In England it’s very difficult to win something.
“For sure we can do better but I’ve seen improvements in some parts, especially when in possession of the ball. We tried to control the game and we scored the first goal, it was an amazing goal involving many players.”
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