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Antonio Conte: ‘Tottenham didn’t deserve Sporting defeat’

Antonio Conte: ‘Tottenham didn’t deserve Sporting defeat’

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has claimed that his side did not deserve to lose Tuesday’s Champions League Group D clash with Sporting Lisbon.

The Lilywhites travelled to the Estadio Jose Alvalade having had a week’s worth of rest since opening their European campaign with a 2-0 success over Marseille.

Conte largely kept faith with the XI that got the job done against Les Olympiens, but Tottenham struggled to create any clear-cut chances as Ruben Amorim‘s defence held firm.

With added time looming in the second half, Sporting broke the deadlock through Paulinho‘s header before Champions League debutant Arthur Gomes slotted home to complete the job.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Conte admitted that Tottenham did not do enough to deserve a victory, but he believes that a 2-0 loss was overly harsh on his side.

Sporting Lisbon's Arthur Gomes celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur on September 13, 2022© Reuters

“I think the game in the first half was in balance between the two teams. Honestly 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,” quotes Conte as saying.

“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 made a really good save, maybe the most difficult save of the game.

“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.”

Richarlison, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min once again lined up as the front three at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, with Dejan Kulusevski not brought off the bench until the 71-minute mark.

Sporting Lisbon's Marcus Edwards in action with Tottenham Hotspur's Ben Davies on September 13, 2022© Reuters

While Tottenham’s attackers proved ineffective, Sporting’s former Lilywhites youngster Marcus Edwards was a bright spark throughout and was denied a spectacular solo goal by Hugo Lloris at the end of the first half.

“I think Sporting played a good game and in the end they won but if the game finished as a draw and we are talking about a regret that we didn’t win tonight. I didn’t see a lot of difference between them and us, in the aspects,” Conte added.

“They have played in the Champions League for many years. Two years ago they won the league in Portugal, with Porto and Benfica, Sporting Lisbon is one of the best teams. They are used to playing in the Champions League. This is not a surprise for me.

“Don’t forget that last season in November we lost to Mura in the Conference League in Slovenia. I think that we then made an important step forward, because tonight in my opinion it was more fair a draw than a defeat honestly.”

Sporting’s victory over Tottenham marked their first win over English opposition in the Champions League at the seventh attempt, and Conte’s side will endeavour to bounce back in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Leicester City.

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