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Tottenham boss Antonio Conte reportedly cancelled his players’ scheduled day off on Wednesday in a repeat of a punishment used by Erik ten Hag earlier in the season. Spurs suffered a 2-0 defeat by Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday, with both goals coming in the final few minutes.
Conte apparently responded to the defeat by brutally making Spurs’ players train on the morning they returned from Portugal. That is despite the loss being the north Londoners’ first since April 16.
It comes after Manchester United head coach Ten Hag responded similarly to the Red Devils’ 4-0 reverse at Brentford earlier in the campaign. The Dutchman – keen to assert standards at Old Trafford following defeats in each of his opening two games in charge – made his players run 14km to make up the distance they had been outrun against the Bees.
Conte is known to hate losing and refused to give his players the day off after they struggled in Portugal. Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Richarlison all misfired in the defeat.
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According to the Daily Telegraph, players reported to their Hotspur Way training base at 11am, despite only arriving home at 1:30am. Conte had not told his players when they would be training the next day, if at all, until after the game.
It is understood that the players would at least have had the morning off had they beaten Sporting and ensured they continued their Champions League campaign with maximum points. The 53-year-old reportedly gave his players a dressing down in the away changing room at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Conte told journalists after: “The game in the first half was balanced. In the second half we felt the opportunity to get the three points and win the game. We had the chances to score but in the end we are talking about a loss.
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“For sure, we can do much better in those last few minutes. We conceded a counter attack with a one vs one. It was the player who shot and Hugo [Lloris] made a really good save. After this, the corner, we conceded a goal.
“I always say to my players that the details move the final result. I think that maybe we didn’t deserve to win but at the same time we didn’t deserve to lose this game tonight.
“We try to analyse the game very well with the players to understand what were the positive things that we did and what are the negative situations that we can improve for the future. We need to know that if we want to have the ambition to go to the next round we have to fight, we have to fight a lot, especially in this group because in this group I see a lot of balance between the teams.”
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