Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane has said the club’s recruitment of Antonio Conte as manager shows great ambition and leaves the players with no excuses as they try to turn around a mediocre start to the season.
Kane’s poor Premier League form was a factor in Nuno Espirito Santo’s sacking this week after only four months in charge with the striker having netted only once in 10 games.
The disappointment of the England captain’s failure to get a move to Manchester City in the close season has appeared to weigh on Kane, who has looked disillusioned at times this season.
But the 28-year-old was effusive in his praise of Conte after Tottenham’s frantic 3-2 victory over Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League on Thursday — Conte’s first game in charge.
“It shows great ambition, to be honest. His resume speaks for itself, everyone knows how highly thought of he is and what he has done as a manager in the game,” Kane said of the Italian who has won league titles with Inter Milan, Chelsea and Juventus.
Conte enjoys winning start with Spurs in frantic Vitesse clash
“You have to respect that. He will work as hard as he can to improve us as players but it is about us as players, taking it in, learning, doing more on the pitch, doing more in training, doing more away from training — whether it is recovery or anything like that.
“It has only been three days, but he is a fantastic manager. We haven’t reached the standards we have wanted to over the last couple of years, but we hope that this manager can help us turn it around.”
Portuguese Espirito Santo looked subdued on the sidelines during his brief Spurs reign, but the 52-year-old Conte made an immediate impact on the fans on Thursday with his energetic touchline presence.
“He definitely brings a lot of passion, a lot of determination, whether that’s on the training pitch or in meetings, in the dressing room,” Kane added.
“But it’s about us, and how we take it in because he has done it, he has nothing to prove. He has done it on the biggest stage with the biggest teams, so he will give everything he has to improve us. Now it’s down to us as players to have no excuses.”
Conte will resume his Premier League managerial career on Sunday when ninth-placed Tottenham travel to Everton, who are one place and a point behind the London club.