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Conte Happy Again As Tottenham Get ‘Nasty’ In Comeback Win

Reuters/Paul Childs

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte praised his team for playing “more nasty” as they roared back from 2-0 down to beat Bournemouth 3-2 in the Premier League on Saturday.

Once again Spurs struggled to maintain a high level throughout 90 minutes — a mark of their recent slump — as Bournemouth led with two goals by Kieffer Moore.

But Tottenham dominated after going two down in the 49th minute with Ryan Sessegnon and Ben Davies levelling it up before Rodrigo Bentancur struck a stoppage-time winner to keep the London side in third place in the table.

It was a welcome return to winning ways after league defeats against Manchester United and Newcastle United had put a dampener on an impressive start to the season.

But Conte said his players should not have to wait until they are in trouble before finding some spark — a similar situation to this week’s Champions League draw with Sporting when Bentancur scored a late leveller.

“I have to be honest, and also, after the first half, my feeling was positive,” Conte told reporters. “The only situation that I ask of my players is that we are to show more personality and take more responsibility because this game was on us.

“I think in the second half, despite conceding the second goal, we started to play nasty, with a will and desire to hurt the opponent. To not only move the ball and show ‘Look, we are good and so nice’ but in an effective way.

“I think we created many chances to score and at the end we won the game in a difficult stadium because Bournemouth is a really good team.”

Had Spurs lost they would have visited Olympique de Marseille next week for a vital Champions League clash under a cloud. But Conte says the manner of the comeback on the south coast means they will now travel with confidence.

“I think it was vital for us this win, especially after two losses in the Premier League, and now this win has given us enthusiasm and passion for going into Marseille and for playing a final,” said Conte, whose team need a point in France to reach the last 16 of Europe’s elite club competition.

Conte walked down the tunnel when Bentancur scored — apparently unwilling to risk seeing the goal ruled out again by VAR as happened in midweek when Harry Kane’s last-gasp strike was disallowed, leading to Conte being red-carded.

“I came back when I knew the goal was regular. I thought in my mind and my heart that I could have a heart attack because in two days to score and then have a goal disallowed…” he said.

“I said I go down and then stay calm, and then I wait for the decision of the referee.”

Reuters

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