Antonio Conte has admitted his pleasure with the progress of Tottenham youngsters Oliver Skipp and Japhet Tanganga while also revealing that Steven Bergwijn is improving “day by day”.
Skipp, 21, has been a regular starter under the former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss while 22-year-old Tanganga has made six appearances in Conte’s nine matches in charge.
Conte was initially asked about Skipp’s progress after another dominant display in the centre of the park against Crystal Palace, but the Spurs boss was keen to also point to the other academy product in the team on the day,
“Yeah, but today in our starting XI there were two young players. Two very young players, Oliver Skipp and Japhet Tanganga,” he said.
“Don’t forget that I think he played a really good game as the third central defender on the left. I think he made a great performance and I’m happy. I’m happy for him because Japhet is a player that has a great sense of belonging.
“It’s the same for Oliver. For Skipp, he’s playing with me regularly no? In every game he’s playing and he’s good. He’s making big improvements and I think that he could become one, a very strong midfielder, a really good midfielder.
“He has to continue to work. We are talking about a humble boy, a humble player. Oliver feels a lot of sense of belonging to play for Tottenham. For Japhet, for Oliver, it’s a dream. During the game you can see this.”
Conte also spoke about his experienced strikers, Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min, who all scored against Palace and the Italian noted the progress of 24-year-old Bergwijn, who played for half an hour in the central striker role on Sunday.
“I think in front we have three strikers, three important strikers. Son, Harry and Lucas and then also Steven Bergwijn is improving day by day. Also he’s showing me that he can be a good option,” he said.
“I think it is very important to continue to improve this link with these three players, to exploit at their best characteristics.
“We know very well that in front we are very good and for this reason we need to exploit the situation, where you have important players.
“I’m happy that these three, four players that we have in front, they are totally involved offensively but above all defensively, and this is good because we are a team.
“The rest of the team I think has a great appreciation of the efforts of the strikers without the ball. That’s why when we have the ball we have to create situations to exploit them.”
Tottenham will take on Southampton on Tuesday at St Mary’s and with just 48 hours between matches, the current Covid testing requirements mean that while everyone takes daily lateral flow tests, the Spurs players will have taken another PCR test on Monday without knowing the results of those more accurate tests until Tuesday morning or potentially just a few hours before the game kicks off.
“Yeah, but it happened when we were having the problems two weeks ago. When I said that we were having training sessions, I was preparing for the game and then at the end of the training session you can have a positive player in your team,” Conte said on the testing issues.
“This is a big mess because you can prepare with a player that the next day you can’t, but especially your players that are positive can infect the other players.
“But I think now we’re doing very well because before the training session there is a rapid test and then the other test you have the result the day after.
“I think this is a good solution because you know with the rapid test. It’s not 100 per cent but there’s a good percentage of reality in this test no?”
Source by Football London