Antonio Conte hit back at Tottenham’s fans for booing his side off at half-time during their side’s 2-1 defeat by Liverpool on Sunday.
Spurs were made to count the cost of another slow start after an impressive second-half comeback failed to yield a late equaliser. Two goals from Mohamed Salah were enough for Liverpool to earn their first away win of the season but Conte was not unhappy with his side’s performance. The Italian argued Spurs deserved a point and he said that their fans have to understand that their side are a work in progress.
“First of all, I think that we have to show in every moment a great respect to our fans because they are our fans,” Conte said. “They pay for their tickets. At the same time, if you ask me if I was happy or disappointed, yes.
“I continue to repeat since from the start of the season that we have just started a process and I think after one year we made a lot of improvement. If someone thinks we are already ready to win, I have to be honest and tell you it will be really, really difficult because when you start a process you need time and patience.
“If you understand this, everybody is OK. Otherwise we can lose the passion, the enthusiasm. I can’t promise, in this moment, trophies to our fans. I continue to ask for time and patience because I have the experience to do this. We are far from other teams that are used to winning. If we understand this it will be good. Everybody wants to win, I am the first but we need time and patience.”
Spurs, who have ceded third place to Newcastle, were given hope by Harry Kane’s goal. But Liverpool, who are seven points behind Conte’s side, dug deep for the points.
“We had to keep fighting,” Jürgen Klopp said. “We did that. We like that. People who know us know if you want to win an away game this is a normal way to do it. This is a completely normal game for us. We drew twice against Tottenham last season, so winning here is incredibly difficult. We have to show this attitude and commitment to defending. We have to show that we are not punched too hard when we concede a goal.”