Tottenham boss Antonio Conte insisted he was “proud” of how his players performed in their 2-0 win over Everton and sent a message to the fans over his side’s performance. Spurs produced a battling performance to secure the three points against a transformed Everton side who were prepared to be patient and go toe-to-toe with his side.
The Italian watched on in frustration as his side struggled to break down the resilient Toffees in the first half, but a penalty from Harry Kane and deflected strike from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was enough to lift Spurs onto equal points with Manchester City and one adrift of Arsenal.
The result means that Spurs have had their best start to a season in the Premier League era with 23 points from their first 10 games, as well as eight straight home victories.
And Conte, who marked Hojbjerg’s goal with a wild celebration on the touchline, was delighted with his team’s display and reaction to Richarlison’s injury after he came off in the second half.
READ MORE: Tottenham boss Conte admits to Richarlison ‘doubts’ after move
“We have to be really happy because in my opinion we played a good game, we created a lot of chances and had injuries during the game,” he said in his post-match interview. “That could have created something negative but we found a right solution to the game. I liked our attitude, we started very well and had to pay attention in the first half.”
Conte was forced into a substitution when Richarlison appeared to suffer a calf injury and he brought on Yves Bissouma, changing his side to a 3-5-2 from a 3-4-3. And that change gave his side even more control, with Hojbjerg released to move further forward and score his second goal.
The Italian, quizzed on Bissouma’s arrival into the game, added: “I think Yves Bissouma was the best solution because he enjoys playing in front of central defenders with two midfielders behind him.
“Despite the difficulty of the game, we are talking about a good opponent and despite the injuries we were able to solve the situation. That means the players are growing in many aspects. I am very proud of the players. I think our fans will enjoy this performance and we hope to continue this way.”
Kane made it nine goals in 10 games this season after beating Pickford from the penalty spot and hailed his team-mates’ patience to get the winning result: “We just had to be patient. We just said at half-time we had to keep moving the ball, get it out wide and the spaces would open up as they get more tired,” Kane told Sky Sports.
“We kept knocking on the door and got a couple of chances, a good clean sheet at the back and a really good win.”
Asked about his penalty against Pickford, Kane insisted there was contact made by the goalkeeper despite insinuations that he may have engineered contact between the two.
“Firstly, I was just trying to knock it past him and score an open goal but he kind of just slides down when I’m on his blind side and took me out. Probably a bit unlucky from his point of view but I was there to take it,” he added.